The WNBA All-Stars showed their support for Brittney Griner on July 10th as they all sported the Phoenix Mercury center’s jersey number during the 2nd half of the game, despite her pleading guilty to a crime as she’s detained in Russia.
The team of A’ja Wilson would defeat the team of Breanna Stewart for All-Star supremacy 132-112. At the end of the game, the players made it clear that their focus was on Griner.
“BG’s one of us. She’s our sister,” said Wilson, who is a player of the Las Vegas Aces. “And at the end of the day, we’re going to do whatever we can to amplify the platform that we have to make sure that everyone is doing what they need to do to make sure that she gets home safely.”
Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird stated: “We just wanted to make sure at some point that we were able to, on national television, obviously in front of a (big) crowd, put Brittney’s name in the forefront. That was our way of honoring her.”
Griner has been detained in Russia since February. She was arrested for supposedly carrying vaping cartridges containing cannabis-derived oils into a Moscow airport.
On July 7th Griner pleaded guilty to the criminal drug charge in an effort to get a lenient sentence. “Obviously we are thinking of Brittney Griner at this time,” the Commissioner of WNBA, Cathy Engelbert said in Chicago. “She remains a huge priority for us, continues to have our full support, fully focused on getting her home safely and as soon as possible of course.”
Aces guard Kelsey Plum was named MVP of the All-Star Game. She scored 30 points in her All-Star Game debut. New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu contributed 19 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Griner faces up to 10 years in jail.
Griner begged Joe Biden for help, but it appears to have fallen on deaf ears. A handwritten letter from Brittney Griner was handed over to the White House on the morning of July 4th, according to the Griner family, which supplied excerpts to reporters. In the letter, the imprisoned WNBA star implored the president not to forget her and expressed that her already deep appreciation for Independence Day had acquired a new meaning this year.
“I’m terrified I might be here forever,” wrote Griner, who has been detained in Russia since mid-February. “On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran. It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
Griner, whose trial began last week, was arrested at a Moscow airport in February after Russia alleged she had cannabis oil in her luggage. A Russian judge issued an order for Griner, the Phoenix Mercury center who played in Russia during the WNBA offseason, to remain in custody for the duration of the trial.