WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia has been extended
The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner said her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month.
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The Boston Celtics stand in solidarity with Brittney Griner.
Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Grant Williams and other Celtics teammates donned black and orange shirts that read “We Are BG” ahead of their practice at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Saturday. The back of the shirt featured a QR code that links to a Change.org petition to “Secure Brittney Griner’s Swift and Safe Return to the U.S.”
As of Saturday afternoon, the petition has over 243,000 signatures.
“As a collective, we wanted to come out and show our support for Brittney Griner,” said Brown. “She’s been over there for an extended amount of time, and we feel like enough is enough.”
Williams added: “We just wanted to show that togetherness and love that we have throughout not only the NBA, the WNBA. She’s been a vital part of the WNBA for years past, college and in the amount of impact she’s had on young female athletes.”
Griner, a seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, has been detained for 107 days after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. The U.S. State Department reclassified Griner as being “wrongfully detained” by the Russian government last month.
Williams said he coordinated with the Women’s National Basketball Players Association and the National Basketball Players Association to overnight the shirts for the players.
“We just wanted to do that as a team,” Williams explained. “It was one of those things where no one questioned it. Everyone said, ‘Let’s do it.’ Everyone put the shirt on immediately when we got them, fresh off the box. They were ironed and good to go. So we wanted to show that love and support.”
Jayson Tatum opened up about getting to know Griner while representing the 2020 United States men’s and women’s national teams. Tatum and Griner both won an Olympic gold medal during the Tokyo Games.
“Being over there with the Olympics, obviously it was during COVID and we couldn’t really go out and see other events and things like that. So after the games, after practice, we would be in the hospitality room, men and women. We would be in there, playing cards, karaoke, things like that, video games,” Tatum said. “Great person to be around. She just enlightens the entire room with her personality.”
He continued: “It’s extremely tough seeing what she’s going through. I know everybody sees and feels that, and obviously we’re all together in support trying to bring her back to her family and things like that. Yeah, wearing those shirts today in support of her.”
‘NOT THE SAME’: Phoenix Mercury, fans feel Brittney Griner’s absence
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league is working to “expedite” Griner’s release.
“It’s been now over a hundred days since she’s been illegally held in Russia,” Silver said Thursday ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “I think it’s something that all of us should be heard on, contacting your representatives and others. I will only say we are working in lockstep with the U.S. government and outside experts on trying to expedite her release in any way we can. Certainly our hearts go out to her and her family, and just are eager for her safe return. And so I join my colleagues in the WNBA in making reference to her as well.”
Game 2 of the NBA Finals takes place Sunday on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. The Celtics lead the series 1-0.
Follow Cydney Henderson on Twitter @CydHenderson
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