The WNBA star, Brittney Griner, has a unique story to tell. In the past she has been accused of drug smuggling in Russia, and in the present, she is facing a trial for her part in the smuggling. Her relationship with her assistant, Cherelle Griner, has also been the subject of recent media attention.
Biden chose her over the former U.S. marine
The Biden administration has made a bold move in freeing WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russian custody. Griner was jailed for a minor drug charge, but was released in a prisoner exchange with another American.
While the trade was praised by many, some observers remain unimpressed with the decision. Although the swap went smoothly, it’s hard to see how the U.S. could justify the release of Bout, a former marine, as part of a prisoner exchange.
The state department called the Griner-Bout prisoner swap “a clear sign of open diplomatic channels between our two nations.” And the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, rejected suggestions of preferential treatment for Griner.
It was an impressive feat, but it left Griner and another American behind. In exchange for Griner, the United States swapped with Russia for Viktor Bout, also known as the “Merchant of Death,” a notorious Russian arms dealer.
Gender on the court
It’s hard to ignore the fact that gender has been a big part of the Brittney Griner story. Her plight is a stark reminder of the discrimination faced by queer people in sports in North America.
She was the only athlete in WNBA to come out as gay. The sport became an outlet for her to express herself. Nike endorsed her as the first openly gay athlete in professional sports.
During the off-season, Griner played for the UMMC Ekaterinburg team in western Russia. But her contract was terminated after her detainment.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, a reporter brought up the subject of sexuality in sports. Griner wore an ivory suit with satin finishes. However, she said menswear looks better on her than women’s tight clothes.
Relationship with her associate Cherelle Griner
Brittney Griner and Cherelle Griner have a long history together. They met during their college years at Baylor University in Texas. It was then that they fell in love.
After they graduated, Brittney and Cherelle continued to date for several years, but it wasn’t until the divorce that they officially got engaged. Then they were married in June 2019.
Cherelle is currently studying law at North Carolina Central University. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in family and child studies.
Having a relationship with a professional athlete can be a huge challenge, especially in the world of sports. It can raise questions regarding the ethics and laws of the sports and society’s respect of celebrities. But, Cherelle has always stood by her partner, supporting her in the toughest moments.
Brittney Griner is an American basketball player and one of the best in the WNBA. She is 6 foot 9 inches tall and has won multiple championships, including two Olympic gold medals.
She is also a member of the United States women’s national team. Her career has been interrupted by injuries, but she is expected to return for the 2023 WNBA season.
Before joining the WNBA, she played for Baylor University. She was named an All-American in her sophomore and junior years. With the Lady Bears, she led them to their first NCAA Championship.
The WNBA has been a great fit for Brittney, as she has been an elite scorer and a defensive force. She has been a part of two world championship gold teams.
Trial in Russia for drug smuggling
Brittney Griner was found guilty of drug smuggling in Russia in August, and was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony. She was not part of the prisoner exchange negotiations that were underway between the US and Russia. However, the situation has created some pressure on the Biden administration.
The US State Department formally declared Griner’s detention to be “wrongful” and has asked Russia for a possible prisoner swap. Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. In addition to announcing Griner’s conviction, the two governments agreed to begin a dialogue on her release.
After her conviction, Griner’s legal team argued for a lenient sentence. They also argued the Russian court committed serious procedural violations during her arrest and detention.