The latest image of Brittney Griner behind bars following a hearing in a Russian court has left Americans divided over her treatment.
The American basketballer recently pleaded guilty to drug smuggling when she was allegedly found carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.
She told the court, via Reuters: “I'd like to plead guilty, your honour. But there was no intent. I didn't want to break the law.
"I'd like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare.”
In a showing of solitude with their counterpart, players on both sides of the WNBA All-Star Game walked out at halftime donning Griner’s No. 42 jersey.
Players across the league have been vocal in their pleas to ensure the WNBA star is returned to the United States safely.
During Griner’s court hearing last Friday she was pictured holding an image of the All-Star players wearing her jersey in an act of resilience and acknowledgment of the support she is receiving back home.
However, the picture sparked conflicting opinions when posted on ESPN’s SportsCenter Facebook page, with some going as far as stating that Griner was rightfully being detained.
One user commented: “Don’t break the law. Especially in foreign countries.”
Another said: “If she wasn't famous not one of us would even know she was in Russian prison. She broke the laws in that country and should be prepared to face the consequences of her actions. Using his celebrity status to get special treatment is insulting.”
While another user went as far to reference Griner’s protests of the national anthem being played before games during the height of the racial injustice protests following the killings of George Floy and Breonna Taylor.
They commented: “She didn’t want the national anthem played at her games but yet wants to come home so bad. Oh, the irony is great on this one!!!”
Clearly missing the point of her stand against the national anthem in that comment.
At the time Griner told reporters: “I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season. I think we should take that much of a stand.”
Fortunately, some Facebook users called out the negative comments and hate directed toward Griner.
One said: “Some of y'all really sick. Like the hate you have to have in your heart to laugh at this.”
Another commented: “2.2k people laughing at an American political prisoner in Russia. Tells you a lot of racism, homophobia and misogyny in American sports.
Griner has been detained in Russian since February 17, with her trial beginning on July 1.
She faces up to 10 years in prison, however, will testify in the case on July 26 where she is hoping to receive a lesser sentence.
Featured Image Credit: REUTERS / Alamy