Just hours after being sentenced to nine years in prison on the other side of the world, the Phoenix Mercury and the Connecticut Sun came together to pay a touching, emotional tribute to Brittany Griner ahead of their game on Thursday night.
Both Mercury and Sun shook hands together for 42 seconds at Halfcourt at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, honking Griner’s jersey number, while fans in attendance began to chant, “Bring him home.”
Griner was sentenced on Thursday to nearly a decade in a Russian prison after being found guilty of drug trafficking and drug trafficking with criminal intent. The Phoenix Mercury star has been in custody in the country since February, when authorities said his luggage at Moscow airport contained wipe cartridges with hashish oil.
The United States government declared Griner a wrongfully detained citizen, and President Joe Biden called his sentence “unacceptable”.
“I call on Russia to release him immediately so that he can be with his wife, loved ones, friends and teammates,” Biden said, “working tirelessly and pursuing every path possible to bring him home.” ” said before making the promise.
The United States has offered Russia a “substantial offer” to release Griner and Paul Whelan, who are also wrongly believed to be in custody. The specifics of that deal are not known.
Mercury said in a statement, “While we knew this was never the legal process that was going to bring our friend home, today’s verdict marks an important milestone in the 168-day nightmare being endured by our sister, BG. ” “We grieve for him, as we have every day for about six months.
“We are grateful and assured of his family and the public servants working every day to bring us back. We are confident that the administration will do whatever it takes to end his wrongful detention. We are inspired by BG’s strength every day and we are publicly committed to topping her until she is safely back on American soil.
“We will not let him forget. We are BG.”
Brittany Griner was sentenced on Thursday to nine years in Russian prison. (Reuters/Evgenia Novozhenina)