Two of Brittney Griner’s USA Basketball teammates have damaged their silence on the star participant’s imprisonment in Russia.
Most WNBA gamers have been hesitant to speak about Griner’s detention on obvious drug costs in Russia, hoping to keep away from doubtlessly hurting her case.
“Individuals are saying she’s 6-foot-9, she’s totally different. It is actually not about that,” stated USA Basketball participant Angel McCoughtry on Wednesday on the staff’s coaching camp in Minneapolis. “It may have been any of us.”
For the primary few weeks following Griner’s detention, it was determined that it was clearly higher for them to say much less.
The Phoenix Mercury star was detained after arriving at a Moscow airport in mid-February. Russian authorities stated a search of her baggage revealed vape cartridges that allegedly contained oil derived from hashish, which may carry a most penalty of 10 years in jail. Griner was returning to the nation after the Russian League was taking a break for the FIBA World Cup qualifying event.
‘[WNBA] gamers have to be valued’
“The large factor is the truth that we’ve to go over there. It was BG, nevertheless it may have been anyone,” stated Breanna Stewart, who earns over $1 million US to play in Russia. “WNBA gamers have to be valued of their nation they usually will not should play abroad.”
Apart from providing help for Griner, Stewart additionally wished to assist a charity that the Mercury’s All-Star has been concerned with — The Phoenix Rescue Mission — for a very long time.
“Whereas BG is away I wished to help her and her charitable efforts and do what I can from an off-the-court standpoint to assist her and her household,” Stewart stated.
Russia has been a well-liked vacation spot for WNBA gamers like Stewart, McCoughtry and Griner over the previous twenty years due to the cash they’ll make taking part in there within the winter.
The WNBA has made strides to extend participant salaries and discover different methods to compensate gamers within the final collective bargaining settlement, which was ratified in 2020. The contract, which runs by way of 2027, pays gamers a mean of $130,000, with the highest stars capable of earn greater than $500,000 by way of wage, advertising agreements, an in-season event and bonuses.
The CBA additionally gives full salaries whereas gamers are on maternity go away, enhanced household advantages, journey requirements and different well being and wellness enhancements.
Of the hundreds of U.S. residents arrested and jailed in prisons overseas, a small subset are designated by the U.S. authorities as wrongfully detained — a class that affords their instances an additional stage of presidency consideration and locations them below the auspices of the Particular Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs on the State Division. The U.S. authorities has not but put Griner’s case in that class.
Griner is just not the one American detained in Russia. Marine veteran Trevor Reed was sentenced to 9 years in jail in 2020 on costs alleging that he assaulted cops in Moscow. And Michigan company safety government Paul Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence on espionage costs that his household and the U.S. authorities have stated are false. U.S. officers have publicly referred to as for Moscow to launch them.