When Phoenix Mercury star center Brittney Griner was first detained in Russia in February, NBA players weren’t so quick to speak out about the situation.
Suns backup center JaVale McGee explained why on ESPN’s First Take.
“When it first happened it was more of a sensitive topic and something that we really don’t want to talk about because Russia is at war right now and there are a lot of things going on and things that we can’t even imagine right now,” McGee said Tuesday morning.
Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February.
“When we got the OK, or at least the nod to talk about it, everyone was adamant, but internally everyone was talking about it,” McGee continued. “It’s a crazy situation. Somebody in the WNBA is one of us. Being locked up in a foreign country for something that’s legal in America, which is even crazier.
Over time, several NBA players like McGee’s teammate Chris Paul and head coach Monty Williams, as well as Lakers forwards LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and NBA commissioner Adam Silver have used their rigs. form to discuss Griner’s situation.
“I just don’t understand why she’s not here yet, why she hasn’t come back already,” McGee said. “There’s a lot going on in this world and the fact that we have one, not even that she’s a professional basketball player, but just an American detained in Russia in jail right now, it’s crazy. Something should have be done when we first heard about it, when it first happened.
Griner, 31, was arrested at a Moscow airport in February after vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil were allegedly found in her luggage.
The WNBA star is facing drug trafficking charges that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The Mercury met with members of the US State Department on Monday to discuss Griner’s status.
“We want BG to come home as soon as possible, that’s number one on our list,” Mercury teammate Diana Taurasi said in a press release.
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“Once we found out that BG was classified as wrongly detained, it was a signal for all of us. It’s something we’ve all talked about intimately as a group and now knowing the State Department at the highest level, from US President Joe Biden to the team working to bring back all wrongfully detained Americans, gives us a lot of confidence that they are working there.
After this meeting, the team spoke with Greg Stanton (Arizona) and Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) of the US Congress.
“For the Mercury team, coaches and executives, every day without Brittney is life,” Stanton said in a press release. “I was pleased to have the opportunity to share the work we are doing in Congress to secure Brittney’s release.”
Stanton is leading a bipartisan resolution in Congress for Griner’s immediate exit from Russia, according to a press release.
“It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify this message and that we should continue to pressure anyone with influence or power to help bring BG home,” said said Mercury freshman coach Vanessa Nygaard in a news item. Release. “She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her to come home.”
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