LA Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike and WNBA continue to push for Brittney Griner’s release

LA Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike and WNBA continue to push for Brittney Griner’s release

CHICAGO — Brittney Griner is “the fun girl,” according to Nneka Ogwumike. She is resilient and kind, Ogwumike said. She is also the daughter of Texas and Ogwumike’s father’s favorite player.

Speaking Friday before the WNBA All-Star Game festivities in Chicago, Ogwumike focused more on Griner’s humanity than his playing ability as the league continued to push for Griner to be released from Russian detention.

“BG, Brittney Griner, is an American hero,” said Ogwumike, an All-Star forward for the LA Sparks. “She is ours and she is yours, and we must bring her home.”

Ogwumike, president of the WNBA players’ association, joined Griner’s wife, Cherelle, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Seattle Storm star Sue Bird, and union leader Terri Jackson at a news conference calling for clemency for Griner a day after the eight-time All-Star pleaded guilty to drug possession charges that carry up to 10 years in prison.

Griner, 31, was first detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February, and police said they found vaporizer canisters containing hashish oil in her luggage.

“She has been there four and a half months, having to be transported in vehicles too small for her frame,” Sharpton said. “Imprisoned where, she’s in a place where most of the people in that place can’t speak her language. I think she’s already spent a lot of time since we’re talking about an infraction.”

Speaking through an interpreter, Griner told the court on Thursday that he had no intention of committing a crime and had acted unintentionally because he had packed for Moscow in a hurry. The trial was then adjourned until July 14.

Griner’s guilty plea may be an effort by her and her advisers to speed up court proceedings.

“BG has taken responsibility, and now it’s time, it’s time, for this to come to a conclusion,” Jackson said.

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