The Brittney Griner story sure is interesting. Aside from making the tensions worse between the United States and Russia, it has also made ESPN a political news source. It all started on February 17, when WNBA star Brittney Griner was found entering Russia with illegal substances. Since then it’s been very hard to miss this story, as the story has been featured on every news and sports show imaginable. Since then lot’s of people have advocated for Griner’s release, from Lebron James to the average person. So lets dig into this story some more.
As mentioned, on February 17th, Brittney Griner, one of the greatest WNBA players of all time, was detained in Russia for bringing in illegal substances. Since then the situation has escalated when US officials thinking that Russia might use the release of Griner as leverage for the United States to drop sanctions or release a Russian war criminal. As calls to release Griner grew, Russia, as predicted, said that they would only release Griner if the United States released a Russian weapons dealer by the name of Viktor Bout. The latest development in the Griner story is that the WNBA blocks per game record holder pleaded guilty to the charge that she smuggled an illegal substance. She has likely done this to receive a lighter sentence. Never the less, after she pleaded guilty she said that she did not want to break the law, and she did not know smuggling the substance was a crime. While the Biden Administration says that freeing Griner is one of their top priority’s, it is hard to know exactly what that means. Several people are criticizing the government for not doing enough, like Griner’s coach, who said that if this same situation happened to Lebron James, he would be back in the US by know.
The blogs opinion on this matter is that Griner’s arrest is unjust. While one could argue that Griner should have looked at Russian law before going, I think we could all agree that 10 years in jail for a minor drug offense is way too strict. Not to mention, the State Department has called the conviction wrong. But we can also see why the Biden administration would be hesitant to release a Russian war criminal in exchange for a basketball player. I predict that Griner will be released, fairly soon, just not as fast as people want.