The arrest of WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia has been a major talking point as of late. What started as a case of smuggled drugs has become a diplomatic issue. Many parties have urged the US government to take a harsher stance and demand for Griner's release, or at least support the ex-Mercury star.
However, there's a rather shocking development in Brittney Griner's case as of late. Several state-owned news outlets in Russia report that the government is willing to release the WNBA star… for a price. That price comes in the form of the release of the “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout.
According to one political expert, though, this does not mean that the release of the WNBA star is imminent. William Pomeranz said that while Russia is willing to release Griner, the US might not be keen on releasing Bout (via Yahoo! Sports).
“This is Russia saying, ‘Wouldn’t this be a great idea?’” Pomeranz said. “This isn’t the U.S. saying they’re interested. We’ve had other opportunities to get rid of Viktor Bout in the past and we haven’t done it.”
To put it in sports terms, this isn't exactly a fair trade between the United States and Russia. Griner was arrested for alleged large-scale drug transportation earlier in the year when the WNBA star was caught with vape cartridges in an airport. Meanwhile, Bout earned the name “Merchant of Death” for his role in the US' conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. He was sentenced to 25 years for “conspiracy to kill US citizens, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles, and providing aid to a terrorist organization.”
What will be the US' next move with regards to Griner? Will the WNBA star get home safely soon?