The news of Brittney Griner’s transfer to a penal colony this morning shocked many close to the situation. The Phoenix Mercury star, who was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison for possessing less than a gram of hashish oil, has been detained for 265 days. Her family and legal team don’t currently know her location. The outrage in the sports world and beyond was expressed on social media.
The Women’s Basketball Player’s Association tweeted out a statement that other WNBA players have shared, including Candace Parker.
The Women's National Basketball Players Association's Statement Regarding Brittney Griner's Transfer to Russian Penal Colony. pic.twitter.com/mQg0kJ57I3
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) November 9, 2022
Griner’s teammate on the Mercury Brianna Turner, who has been outspoken about Griner’s situation, took to Twitter to share her frustration.
“This is so frustrating to know. I miss BG so much. The past 265 days have left me uncertain, confused and dazed. Of course I remain hopeful for her sake, but this is still an everyday nightmare for so much of her family, friends, and supporters as we try to navigate this #WeAreBG”
This is so frustrating to know. I miss BG so much. The past 265 days have left me uncertain, confused and dazed. Of course I remain hopeful for her sake, but this is still an everyday nightmare for so much of her family, friends, and supporters as we try to navigate this #WeAreBGhttps://t.co/lXcd3x9u14
— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) November 9, 2022
American singer Cher also went on Twitter and delivered an all-caps message.
WHERE THE FK IS BRITTNEY GRINER,& WHAT’S🇺🇸DOING 2 FREE HER⁉️SHE’S SENT 2 RUSSIAN PENAL COLONY. ITS HARD LABOR,NO MEDS,&PPL DIE‼️🇺🇸HAS NO IDEA WHERE SHE IS.
“WHAT BLEEDS LEADS”IN 🇺🇸.WILL WE LET HER DIE,BECAUSE SHE’S NO LONGER FRONT PAGE NEWS⁉️.🇺🇸HAS THE ATTEN. SPAN OF A FRUIT🪰
— Cher (@cher) November 9, 2022
The Biden Administration has been working on a prisoner swap to get Griner back to the United States (though they claim Russia has not been negotiating in good faith). Secretary of State Anthony Blinken released a statement through Twitter.
We strongly protest the movement of Brittney Griner to a remote penal colony and the Russian government’s use of wrongful detentions. I am committed to bringing home Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan as soon as possible.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 9, 2022
Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart has tweeted at the Biden Administration every day for months asking for them to step up their efforts on Griner’s release. She had a simple message this morning after the news came out.
FREE BG 💔🗣️ https://t.co/ISj7UGcr1R
— Breanna Stewart (@breannastewart) November 9, 2022
Brittney Griner’s agent has suggested writing to Griner, which anyone can do by submitting it here.