It may have taken over nine months, but WNBA star Brittney Griner is back in American soil. On Thursday morning, it was announced that Griner, who was detained by Russian authorities back on February 17 due to vape cartridges in her luggage, has been released in a prisoner swap, ending what had been an emotional saga, both for the 6’9 center and her loved ones.
There was palpable catharsis in the online world, particularly on Twitter, after Brittney Griner has finally been freed from what had been such a tough situation. Some thought that Griner’s release was well overdue, while others were just happy and relieved that Griner is back on home turf.
God’s grace is SUFFICIENT! @brittneygriner is home! I love you BG!
— dawnstaley (@dawnstaley) December 8, 2022
Thank You 🙏🏾
— James Wade (@coachjameswade) December 8, 2022
I know her family will be crying tears of relief all day. https://t.co/LsBcN2JYMh
— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) December 8, 2022
Can’t believe it. I’m not crying….ok I’m crying. https://t.co/C98J6tKnjE
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) December 8, 2022
BEST WAY TO START THE DAY #freedBG https://t.co/tcqRKBZs4y
— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) December 8, 2022
He did it! https://t.co/nzJnyj2RWj pic.twitter.com/1YH0zeyMYx
— Norm Charlatan (@normcharlatan) December 8, 2022
LETS GO BG IS FREEE !!!
— Larry Golden (@_LarroHoops) December 8, 2022
Reports came out back in March that Brittney Griner was being held by Russian authorities due to drug charges. Griner had just landed then in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, traveling to Russia to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason, presumably to chase a bigger payday given the WNBA’s less-than-stellar reputation of poor remuneration.
A Russian court then convicted Griner of drug smuggling in August, sentencing her to nine years in a penal colony. This sparked a bigger outrage from the WNBA community, with calls for her release growing larger by the day. President Joe Biden, to his credit, had engaged in conversations to bring back Griner and, perhaps, U.S. Marine Paul Whelan in exchange for two Russian prisoners.
Eventually, Biden and the rest of the United States’ negotiation team acquiesced and agreed to a prisoner swap between Britney Griner and noted arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Back in September, Joe Biden met with Brittney Griner’s partner, Cherelle, who will be especially pleased with these recent developments. Brittney has had difficulties during her time as a detainee in Russia, but now she can now be in the loving arms of her family and friends and start the long road to recovery from what had been such a traumatic experience.