Brittney Griner is 2.06 meters tall and weighs 93 kilograms. She wears measurement 51 (17 within the US) sneakers and her fingers are barely wider than American basketball star LeBron James’s.
Had Griner not entered the skilled ladies’s basketball league (WNBA) at age 22, she would have adopted in her father’s footsteps and change into a police officer.
He is your “position mannequin”, she’s mentioned previously.
He’s now sentenced to 9 years in jail on “drug”-related expenses in a Russian courtroom.
Griner, 31, was arrested at an airport within the Russian capital final February after customs officers discovered e-cigarette liquid containing hashish oil, which is against the law in Russia and the athlete makes use of for medicinal functions, in his baggage.
The Olympic medalist has since been in jail and has admitted to drug-related expenses, though he has mentioned he has no intention of breaking any legal guidelines to scale back his sentence.
The US claims he was “unjustly detained” and requested the Kremlin to launch him in a prisoner swap, however it’s unknown whether or not they acquired a response to the provide.
Recognized to Phoenix Mercury followers as BG and thought of the perfect offensive participant in skilled ladies’s basketball in the US, Griner received her first sport as quickly as she entered the WNBA.
Griner turned the primary participant to disclose his homosexuality within the US ladies’s skilled basketball league (Picture: BBC through Getty Pictures)
He was the primary participant within the league to dare to publicly say he was homosexual, whatever the implications of his disclosure.
“Earlier than Grinner, there was a shadow within the league (in follow) that insisted on ‘do not name it homosexual,'” sports activities columnist Tamryn Spruill explains.
“He simply mentioned, ‘What the heck, that is me’.”
This braveness led to him turning into the primary overtly homosexual athlete (female and male) sponsored by sports activities firm Nike, after being first chosen within the WNBA’s recruitment tour.
At age 31, Griner received two Olympic gold medals, earned the title of most precious participant within the American ladies’s basketball league and the WNBA and Euroleague championships.
Born in Houston, Texas, he received a basketball scholarship to attend Baylor College and led the staff to a nationwide championship.
Basketball star arrested in February – Picture: Getty Pictures through BBC
However Griner is now sentenced to 9 years in jail for touring with hemp oil for e-cigarettes to Russia, the place he performed within the Euroleague with the UMMC Ekaterinburg staff in the course of the season recess in the US.
Griner did what different WNBA teammates did: taking part in overseas to extend his revenue. In Russia, he earned 5 occasions greater than in the US.
“Wage inequality in the US has led to Brittney Griner’s wrongful imprisonment in Russia, the place she is used as a political pawn,” explains the WeAreBG portal, organized by different athletes affiliated with the Nationwide Ladies’s Basketball Affiliation.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Euroleague suspended all Russian groups and commenced recalling US and WNBA gamers.
The athlete was about to board a airplane again to the US when a Russian Federal Customs Service canine allowed authorities to examine his hand baggage, the place he discovered e-cigarette liquids containing hashish oil.
Months later, the sports activities star admitted to drug-related expenses, though he mentioned he had no intention of breaking any legal guidelines.
In the course of the months of detention, the athlete’s spouse and 28-year-old lawyer, Cherelle Watson, claimed that Russian authorities blocked her entry to the consulate and communication with household and associates.
He was lately sentenced by a Russian courtroom to 9 years in jail for “drug-related” expenses and a fantastic of 1 million rubles ($16,300).
Additionally, in response to the courtroom, he should serve his sentence in a penal colony.
WNBA followers defended his launch (Picture: Getty Pictures, through BBC)
US President Joe Biden known as Griner’s conviction “unacceptable” and demanded his rapid launch.
“Immediately, US citizen Brittney Griner acquired a jail sentence that when once more reminds us of what the world already is aware of: Russia is detaining Brittney wrongly,” the assertion mentioned.
Days earlier than the conviction, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reported that the Biden administration had provided Russia a “important” prisoner swap to safe the extradition of Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.
“I am afraid to remain right here eternally, sitting right here alone with my ideas and with out the safety of my spouse, household, associates, Olympic jersey or any achievements,” he wrote in a letter to Biden. Out of jail in July.
American media reported that the Moscow authorities is desirous about exchanging the basketball star for convicted Russian arms vendor Viktor Bout.
Nevertheless, the conviction modified the panorama.
Griner’s legal professionals have mentioned they are going to attraction the decision for now, after criticizing the Russian courtroom “for not pleading responsible to all protection proof and, extra importantly,” in hopes of getting a minor reprimand.
After studying of the sentence, Griner’s supervisor Lindsay Kagawa Colas wrote on Twitter:
“It is a time of compassion and customary understanding that will probably be tough to strike a deal to deliver Individuals house, however it’s pressing and the precise factor to do.”
Russia sentences American basketball participant Brittney Griner to 9 years in jail