Brittney Griner Sentenced To 9 Years In Russia, NBA Outraged: A federal attorney in Russia has sentenced free-agent basketball player Brittney Griner to 9 years in prison for drug possession and smuggling.
The American diplomat was wrongfully detained after police at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. This amount of cannabis oil measured out to less than a gram, and she plead guilty, likely for the sake of reducing her sentence (in a trial where the outcome was predetermined), but still she happened to receive very near the maximum the judge could impose. Negotiations on prisoner exchange involving Ms. Griner are ongoing and progressing.
The world reacted with shock and support for Griner. For more reaction to this story, go to the links below:
Despite her plea, the court sentenced Brittney Griner to five years behind bars since she was unable to come up with a guilty plea. “The repeated publication of prejudicial and erroneous information has exacerbated even more the unfair treatment of Brittney Griner by those who have sought not only to hurt her but also to tarnish the reputation of professional basketball,” wrote Silver and Engelbert in a joint statement.
Russian president Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that Brittney Griner has been sentenced to a year in prison for having “illegal substances.” Groan-er is still recovering from an injury and cannot be in Russia, where she is wanted for questioning.
The reaction from the NBA and WNBA worlds to Brittney Griner’s sentencing was swift and severe. Players, coaches, and management released statements condemning what they called an “unjust” punishment and calling for her immediate release. The WNBA issued a statement saying that Griner’s “integrity, character, and commitment to excellence on the court have always been exemplary,” and that it is “hurt” by the news. Commentators across America echoed those sentiments, with some comparing Griner’s sentence to that of Olympic medalist Dara Torres.