WNBA star Brittney Griner remains detained in Russia after being found with a weed pen in Moscow several months ago. At the ESPYs on Wednesday, a lot of athletes made a point of highlighting that the United States government must bring her home. That clearly upset Russia.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Russian government demanded the US respect the rules that Griner broke.
“If a U.S. citizen was taken in connection with the fact that she was smuggling drugs, and she does not deny this, then this should be commensurate with our Russian, local laws, and not with those adopted in San Francisco, New York and Washington,” Maria Zakharova said of the detainment of Brittney Griner.
“You understand, if drugs are legalized in the United States, in a number of states, and this is done for a long time, and now the whole country will become drug-addicted, this does not mean that all other countries are following the same path,” she added.
Russia has its rules. It's understandable. But Vladimir Putin is using this to get back to the United States. Brittney Griner is facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Her trial continues next Tuesday.
It's a difficult situation and Griner herself even wrote a letter to Joe Biden and the administration at The White House, pleading for their help to get her out of Russia. Putin offered a swap for Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, who is currently in prison in the US. But, there has been no traction on that front.
Regardless of what Russia thinks Brittney Griner did, there is no excuse for imprisoning her for such a crime. It's just wrong.