The woke WNBA begins another season Friday, and the league is desperately hyping a Brittney Griner campaign in hopes of attracting some attention. Griner has been detained by Russia since February, when she attempted to enter the country with drugs.
ESPN reports that Griner was detained in Russia since Feb. 17, when customs officials found hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. She was allegedly trying to bring vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis through a Moscow airport, Fox Sports noted.
On Tuesday, the WNBA announced a plan to keep Griner, who plays center for the Phoenix Mercury, "at the forefront of what we do" this season with a floor decal. Griner’s initials and No. 42 will appear in the decal on all 12 WNBA basketball courts.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said, "As we begin the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community. We continue to work on bringing Brittney home and are appreciative of the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time."
The Phoenix Mercury, on Monday, released a video prominently featuring Griner, among other team members. "In conjunction with the league, the other 11 teams, and those closest to BG, we will work to keep her top-of-mind as we tip the 2022 season," Mercury executive vice president and general manager Jim Pitman stated. "While we await her return, our main concern remains for her safety and well-being."
Fox Sports reports that Griner could face up to a decade in prison if convicted in a Russian court. “It’s unclear whether the latest prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia will have any bearing on Griner’s case. Russia exchanged jailed U.S. Marine Trevor Reed for Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving a 20-year federal sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.,” Ryan Gaydos reported for Fox Sports.
In addition to honoring Griner in all 12 league arenas, the WNBA will also continue paying her $228,000 salary without counting it against the organization’s salary cap, The Associated Press reported.
So that’s the story, and here’s the bottom line. The WNBA is glorifying someone accused of breaking another country’s drug laws. Players who have not violated any such laws will have to actually play to earn their salaries, and they won’t be honored with floor decals.
What’s more is that Griner is a black, married lesbian and a past anthem kneeler – a Black Lives Matter supporter and a social justice warrior extraordinaire. All of which count huge in the WNBA, previously called the most radically woke sports league of all.
In June 2021, Griner stated: “I honestly feel we should not play the Nation Anthem during our season, I think we should take that much of a stand. I’m going to protest regardless. I’m not going to be out there for the National Anthem.”
This is certainly not the first time a pro basketball league or players have united behind someone accused of criminal activities. The NBA and Major League Baseball boycotted their own games when alleged sex offender Jacob Blake was shot in 2020 by police while resisting arrest.
Additionally, Griner and her former fiancée Gloria Johnson were arrested in 2015 for assault and disorderly conduct after duking it out at their Arizona home. Both suffered minor injuries. Griner may be an Olympic basketball champion, but she is no angel.
The thought of being jailed in a foreign country is scary. However, Griner’s history is one of uncivil behavior and drug use. She is not a model citizen, and for an entire sports league to build a shrine around her is positively ridiculous.
The WNBA ought to be warning its players not to use drugs, and not to try smuggling them into other countries. WNBA TV ratings are horrible, and this is a new attempt by the league to gain some attention. Building a media campaign around an inactive player sitting in a foreign jail is beyond pathetic.