The WNBA is continuing its efforts to help bring Phoenix Mercury center and Texas native Brittney Griner home, 88 days after her arrest in Russia.
This weekend, the WNBPA and its members endorsed a petition created by Tamryn Spruill to demand that The White House prioritizes the former Baylor star’s return, according to a representative from Wasserman — the agency that represents Griner.
According to the petition, Griner’s team reached out to Change.org last Wednesday with the goal of joining forces with the petition’s creators and adding voices to the movement once her case was reclassified as wrongful detention by the United States government.
As of Monday afternoon, the petition had received over 134,600 signatures and is inching toward its goal of 150,000.
“Griner is a beloved global citizen who has used her platform since her entry into the WNBA to help others,” the petition description reads. “It is imperative that the U.S. government immediately address this human rights issue and do whatever is necessary to return Brittney home quickly and safely.”
Griner was detained Feb. 17 at the Moscow airport after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. On Friday, her pre-trial detention was extended at least another month.
The petition was started by Spruill, an artist, activist, journalist and author, who has spent her career covering issues of gender, race and sexuality that have undermined the success of women’s sports in the United States.
The #WeAreBG movement picked up steam in the last week, as more players and coaches are speaking out about Griner’s detention.
The State Department initially advised those close to her to keep a low profile, but once her case was classified as a wrongful detention — meaning the United States government would no longer wait for it to play out through the Russian legal system and begin negotiating her return — her teammates and loved ones have been allowed to speak more openly.
It has been 87 days since our friend, Brittney Griner, has been wrongfully detained in Russia. It is time for her to come home. @WhiteHouse, we are paying attention and we are counting on you. #WeAreBG
— Breanna Stewart (@breannastewart) May 15, 2022
— dawnstaley (@dawnstaley) May 16, 2022
Heavy heavy heart for BG and her family. Unimaginable. Prayers that God keeps her covered in His arms. 💚 #WeAreBG
— dιjonaι carrιngтon♛ (@DijonaiVictoria) May 13, 2022
Free BG til it’s backwards !!
— A’ja Wilson (@_ajawilson22) May 13, 2022
The WNBA is taking steps to honor Griner and support the Mercury while it awaits her return. The league announced on May 3 that her initials and number would be featured along the sideline of all 12 home courts.
It also said that Phoenix would be granted roster and salary cap relief to carry a replacement player until Griner returns while continuing to pay her full salary.
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