Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Moscow court after being found guilty of drug trafficking after cannabis oil cartridges were found in her luggage while trying to enter Russia in February. Since then, and almost 170 days have passed since then, the WNBA star has been held. The sentence, although something similar was expected, fell like a bomb on his franchise, the Mercury, in competition and in American sports, who reacted angrily to what he considers a grave injustice. A few hours after the verdict was known, her team faced the Sun. In an emotional tribute, players from both teams stood in a circle in the middle of the court for 42 seconds, honoring Griner’s number, as fans chanted “Bring her home.” What do you have to face this game if the whole team is crying before they play? You try to honor Brittney, go out and continue to play hard for her, “said Skylar Diggins-Smith, one of the stars of the Mercury. “It’s nothing that we’re politicizing. We’re talking about a human being, our friend, our sister in real life. I don’t expect everyone to care about anything. But we really do care,” explained the escort. Vanessa Nygaard, coach of the Mercury, recounted that “all the players were in the locker room watching the verdict as we got ready to do our shooting practice. And then you just go out there and play…Basketball doesn’t seem like the biggest thing today. None of Our hard days is as hard as any of Brittney’s days. We have her case on our minds every day. But today is very, very difficult.” WNBA and NBA StatementWNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver criticized Griner’s conviction in a statement. “The verdict and sentence are unjustified and unfortunate, but not unexpected. She continues to be unfairly detained,” the letter read. The two organizations joined the call of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, who demanded that Russia release the basketball player and promised that his government will continue working to ensure her return to the country. At the end of the month, the Biden government made a proposal to Russia to secure the release of Griner and former marine Paul Whelan, detained in Russia for alleged espionage, through a prisoner exchange with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in the United States and whose release claims the Kremlin.
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