Britteny Griner case: swap for felon as an option

As she was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, Brittney Griner had a message to share. “I love my family,” said the US basketball star in Chimki, after dark months, dark years are imminent – in camp detention. The verdict has increased concerns, even at home. “What’s really happening to our queen?” Wrote NBA star Kyrie Irving on Twitter. He directed the question to US President Joe Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris. “Please give us an update,” Irving wished. He’ll probably have to be patient.

Nine years in prison in Russia for drug smuggling. Griner had accepted the words of judge Anna Sotnikova with a blank stare. The sentence was no longer a surprise, the professional leagues NBA and WNBA also called the court’s decision “predictable”, but the 31-year-old remained “wrongly” imprisoned.

Apart from the fact that Griner is perfect as a ball because of its celebrity, none of this has anything to do with sport. Politics is at stake, as it has been since her arrest in February when she was caught with cannabis oil at the airport. Only an exchange of prisoners can save Griner, so far the talks between the USA and Russia have led to nothing. Moscow is “ready to talk about the issue,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

According to media reports, Wiktor But was to be released in exchange for Griner and former US soldier Paul Whelan, who has been in Russian custody since 2018. But, called “Merchant of Death”, is a felon. Such a disproportionate deal would have far-reaching consequences, opening doors for the Russians. A dilemma.

42 seconds of silence

In the US, people know how difficult the situation is. Griner reached a “sobering milestone” in her “168-day nightmare” with the conviction, her WNBA team Phoenix Mercury commented on the news: “We know that the process that was supposed to bring our friend home was never legal Before the Mercury’s game at the Connecticut Sun, the players of both teams lined up in the center circle, linked arms and, following Griner’s number, remained silent for 42 seconds. Tears came to some players. After that they shouted “bring her home”.

“The conviction proves what we have known all along, that Brittney is being used as a political pawn,” her agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas tweeted after the sentencing. “Bringing Brittney and Paul home is the goal.”

Brittney Griner’s teammate Sophie Cunningham, meanwhile, criticized the media. “If it were about megastars like LeBron James or Tom Brady, it would be in the headlines every day,” wrote the 25-year-old. A “constant message” must be transported “until Brittney is home”. But the way there is probably long. sid



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