USA Basketball teammates break silence on Brittney Griner’s imprisonment in Russia | CBC Sports

Two of Brittney Griner’s USA Basketball teammates have damaged their silence on the star participant’s imprisonment in Russia.

Most WNBA gamers have been hesitant to speak about Griner’s detention on obvious drug prices in Russia, hoping to keep away from doubtlessly hurting her case.

“Persons are saying she’s 6-foot-9, she’s totally different. It is actually not about that,” stated USA Basketball participant Angel McCoughtry on Wednesday on the crew’s coaching camp in Minneapolis. “It might have been any of us.”

Gamers have been holding discussions about find out how to greatest assist Griner inside their neighborhood. WNBA gamers have been very cohesive up to now when rallying behind points corresponding to voter registration or the Black Lives Issues motion.

For the primary few weeks following Griner’s detention, it was determined that it was clearly higher for them to say much less.

The Phoenix Mercury star was detained after arriving at a Moscow airport in mid-February. Russian authorities stated a search of her baggage revealed vape cartridges that allegedly contained oil derived from hashish, which might carry a most penalty of 10 years in jail. Griner was returning to the nation after the Russian League was taking a break for the FIBA World Cup qualifying event.

‘[WNBA] gamers must be valued’

“The massive factor is the truth that now we have to go over there. It was BG, however it might have been anyone,” stated Breanna Stewart, who earns over $1 million US to play in Russia. “WNBA gamers must be valued of their nation they usually will not must play abroad.”

In addition to providing help for Griner, Stewart additionally wished to assist a charity that the Mercury’s All-Star has been concerned with — The Phoenix Rescue Mission — for a very long time.

“Whereas BG is away I wished to help her and her charitable efforts and do what I can from an off-the-court standpoint to assist her and her household,” Stewart stated.

Russia has been a well-liked vacation spot for WNBA gamers like Stewart, McCoughtry and Griner over the previous 20 years due to the cash they’ll make taking part in there within the winter.

United States’ Breanna Stewart (10) competes along with Brittney Griner (15) in the course of the 2020 Summer time Olympics. Stewart, together with Angel McCoughtry, spoke out about Griner’s imprisonment in Russia on Wednesday. (Eric Homosexual/The Related Press)

The WNBA has made strides to extend participant salaries and discover different methods to compensate gamers within the final collective bargaining settlement, which was ratified in 2020. The contract, which runs by way of 2027, pays gamers a mean of $130,000, with the highest stars capable of earn greater than $500,000 by way of wage, advertising agreements, an in-season event and bonuses.

The CBA additionally offers full salaries whereas gamers are on maternity go away, enhanced household advantages, journey requirements and different well being and wellness enhancements.

The authorized crew for the two-time Olympic gold-medallist has been quietly in search of Griner’s launch and has declined to talk out in regards to the case since her arrest was made public.

Of the 1000’s of U.S. residents arrested and jailed in prisons overseas, a small subset are designated by the U.S. authorities as wrongfully detained — a class that affords their circumstances an additional degree of presidency consideration and locations them below the auspices of the Particular Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs on the State Division. The U.S. authorities has not but put Griner’s case in that class.

Griner shouldn’t be the one American detained in Russia. Marine veteran Trevor Reed was sentenced to 9 years in jail in 2020 on prices alleging that he assaulted law enforcement officials in Moscow. And Michigan company safety govt Paul Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence on espionage prices that his household and the U.S. authorities have stated are false. U.S. officers have publicly referred to as for Moscow to launch them.

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