Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for more than 100 days, and players, coaches and teams across the country continue to find ways to support the WNBA star, the latest being the Celtics.
Boston wore black and orange “We Are BG” shirts ahead of Saturday’s practice, a day before Game 2 of the NBA Finals. On the back was a QR code, which led to a Change.org petition—“Secure Brittney Griner’s Swift and Safe Return to the U.S.”
“The shirts were super important because not only showing our support for our sister that’s wrongfully detained over in Russia, Brittney Griner,” said Celtics forward Grant Williams, per Mass Live. “We just wanted to show that togetherness and love that we have throughout not only the NBA but the WNBA. She’s been a vital part of the WNBA for years past, college and in the amount of impact she’s had on young female athletes.”
As of 7:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, more than 244,000 signatures are on the petition. It reads, “White House and Biden Administration, we ask that you take action today – doing whatever is necessary – to bring Brittney Griner home swiftly and safely,”
Jaylen Brown said during his media availability, “As a collective, we wanted to come out and show our support for Brittney Griner. She’s been over there for an extended amount of time, and we feel like enough is enough.”
The seven-time All-Star was arrested on Feb. 17 at Sheremetyevo International Airport where Russian officials said they discovered vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. According to the customs service statement, a criminal case involving Griner “has been opened into the large-scale transportation of drugs,” which can carry a jail sentence of up to 10 years in Russia.
As of May 3, the U.S government has classified Griner’s arrest as “wrongfully detainment.” Meanwhile, the U.S State Department has called getting the two-time Olympic gold medalist back on U.S. soil a “top priority,” though Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife, is hoping to see additional action taken to get her wife home.
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed Brittney Griner’s detainment ahead of Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals, saying in part, “I will only say we are working in lockstep with the U.S. government and outside experts on trying to expedite her release in any way we can.”
Griner is able to receive and respond to letters and emails from WNBA players during her detainment, per the Associated Press.
Williams said he coordinated with both players associations to overnight the shirts to the players, adding, “We just wanted to do that as a team. It was one of those things where no one questioned it. Everyone said, ‘Let’s do it.’ Everyone put the shirt on immediately when we got them, fresh off the box. They were ironed and good to go. So we wanted to show that love and support.”
Jayson Tatum discussed getting to know Griner while they represented the 2020 United States men’s and women’s national teams, saying, “She just enlightens the entire room with her personality.”
“It’s extremely tough seeing what she’s going through. I know everybody sees and feels that, and obviously we’re all together in support trying to bring her back to her family and things like that. Yeah, wearing those shirts today in support of her.”
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