Just hours after she was sentenced to nine years in prison on the other side of the world, the Phoenix Mercury and the Connecticut Sun came together for a touching and moving tribute to Brittney Griner ahead of their game on Thursday night.
Both the Mercury and the Sun joined the half court at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut for 42 seconds, honoring Griner’s jersey number, as fans in attendance began chanting “Bring her back to home. home”.
“It’s not something we politicize,” Phoenix guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said after their loss to The Sun, via ESPN. “She’s a human being and our real friend and our real sister. I don’t expect everyone to care. But we really do.
“And we come here and we’re still supposed to play this fucking game. Nobody even wanted to play today. How are you supposed to approach the game with a clear mind, and the whole band is crying in front of the Because you’re trying to honor her and you try to come out and still play hard for her.
Griner was sentenced to nearly a decade in a Russian prison on Thursday after being convicted of drug possession and drug trafficking with criminal intent. The Phoenix Mercury star has been detained in the country since February, when officials said she had vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport.
The United States government has declared Griner a wrongfully detained citizen, and President Joe Biden has called her sentence “unacceptable.”
“I call on Russia to release her immediately so that she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates,” Biden said before pledging to “work tirelessly and pursue all avenues possible.” to take her home.
The United States has offered Russia a “substantial proposal” to release Griner and Paul Whelan, also believed to be wrongfully detained. The details of this agreement are not known.
“None of our tough days are as tough as any of the BG days, are they?” Phoenix coach Vanessa Nygaard said before the game, via ESPN. “So we always keep that in mind, and we carried it with us for the season every day. But today it’s really, really difficult.
“We had the players in the locker room watching the verdict as we prepared to do our shootout. And then just to go out there and play some basketball…basketball just doesn’t seem to be the thing today. That “It just doesn’t seem super important. Of course we’re prepared. The players are very professional, they did what they had to do and we prepared for the game.
“But to go back and listen to her words today, to see how she’s treated in Russia, to hear her apologies…it’s just heartbreaking.”