Megan Rapinoe accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Thursday.
The US soccer icon wore a white jacket with Brittney Griner’s initials sewn into the lapel.
The not-so-hidden message was meant to urge President Biden to bring the detained WNBA star home.
Megan Rapinoe made quite the fashion statement during a special trip to the White House.
The pink-haired women’s soccer superstar received the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the most esteemed civilian honor in the United States — from President Joe Biden on Thursday. And as she was recognized for her accomplishments on the field and off, Rapinoe chose to use her platform to send a subtle message to the president and his administration:
Free Brittney Griner.
Rapinoe paid homage to the WNBA superstar — who has been wrongfully detained in Russia for four months — by literally wearing Griner’s initials on her chest. The US Women’s National Team great wore a white jacket for the occasion, and “BG” was stitched into the lapel alongside a flower.
As President Biden fastened the star-shaped medal around Rapinoe’s neck — making her the first women’s soccer player and the sixth female athlete to accept the distinguished honor — the not-so-subtle message was plain for everyone to see.
Rapinoe called the move “the most important part of today” in an Instagram story posted ahead of the White House ceremony.
Griner was arrested in February after customs agents at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport claimed to have found vape cartridges filled with hashish oil in her luggage. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was charged with the large-scale transportation of drugs, and on Thursday, she pleaded guilty.
The WNBA superstar faces up to 10 years in Russian prison, but in a bit of a twist, the decision to plead guilty may just help her come home sooner. According to legal expert Aron Solomon, who serves as Esquire Digital’s chief legal analyst, the move “is simply a faster path to the finish line.”
“She is following the best legal and political advice she can get in her situation,” Solomon continued. “Practically, it makes no difference what the plea is, as she’s going to be found guilty.”
Between Russia’s suspect handling of Griner’s case to this point and the country’s notoriously harsh 99% conviction rate, sources have told Insider that Griner’s court proceedings were nothing more than a “show trial” with a “predetermined” outcome: a guilty verdict for the seven-time WNBA All-Star.
But, as Solomon noted, there may be “some strategic benefit in regards to the Russian government.” Several reports have suggested that Griner’s plea could be a necessary step in negotiating a prisoner exchange that brings the 6-foot-9 center back to the US.
Sources tell Insider that a swap that would trade Griner and fellow American detainee Paul Whelan for Viktor Bout — an arms dealer dubbed the “Merchant of Death” — could be the fastest means of securing the basketball superstar’s freedom.
Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, told Insider that she and those closest to the superstar “ask President Biden to do what is necessary to get a deal done to bring Brittney home as quickly as possible.”
“Getting BG home will be seen and celebrated as a win for America,” she added.
Read the original article on Insider