WNBA players boycotting Russian offseason in support of Britney Griner
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A bunch of WNBA players are refusing to play in Russia this offseason with Brittney Griner still behind bars.
Basketball star Griner is currently incarcerated in Russia, found guilty of drug smuggling after vape cartridges containing marijuana were found in her luggage at an airport.
Her highly-publicised case has made headlines around the world with many high-profile athletes throwing their support behind her.
Now Griner's fellow WNBA players are boycotting the Russian basketball league, a destination where many of them choose to play during the offseason.
"Honestly my time in Russia has been wonderful, but especially with BG still wrongfully detained there, nobody's going to go there until she's home," Breanna Stewart, who is Griner's ex-teammate at Ekaterinburg said.
"I think that, you know, now, people want to go overseas and if the money is not much different, they want to be in a better place."
It's understood around a dozen WNBA players played in Russia last season.
With Griner still fighting for her freedom, none of them are choosing to go back this year.
"The thing about it is, we were treated so well by our club and made such strong relationships with those people, I would never close the door on that,' Courtney Vandersloot added.
"The whole situation with BG makes it really hard to think that it's safe for anyone to go back there right now."
While many of Griner's former teammates and fellow sports stars have lead the calls for her to be released, her incarceration has left others split.
Her overseas sentencing has sparked another debate entirely, primarily surrounding drug-related charges – particularly in regards to the many people who are currently behind bars for that exact reason in the United States.
The saga itself took another turn when it was revealed that the US government were willing to give up a dangerous Russian arms dealer in exchange for Griner's release – a move which seemed to anger the American public even more.
Since then, president Joe Biden has met with Griner's family to ensure them that she remains a priority.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: "He wanted to let them know that they remain front of mind and that his team is working on this every day, on making sure that Brittney and Paul [Whelan] return home safely."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Australia, Russia, United States, NBA, Basketball