Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in a Russian penal colony
Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony on Thursday for ‘smuggling’ and stockpiling cannabis oil, sending US politicians, sportswriters and others into a frenzy of heated reaction to the ‘unacceptable’ sentence pronounced by the foreign court.
“Anyone who can watch Brittney on screen and not see the humanity and gravity of this situation is sick,” Bleacher Report host Arielle Chambers wrote. tweeted, adding that “Brittney Griner should be on American soil. BRING HER TF HOME.
The Phoenix Mercury player has been detained in Russia since February, when she was detained at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow with vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil, which is banned in the country. The WNBA champion pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in July, but maintains she had no intention of breaking the law.
President Joe Biden called the decision “unacceptable” in a statement obtained by ABC News, calling on Russia to “immediately release her so she can be with his wife, loved ones, friends and teammates.”
Biden has been in contact with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, after the WNBA star wrote the president a handwritten letter asking him not to “forget [her] and other American detainees. News outlets have speculated that Griner could be traded for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
However, negotiations for such an exchange could not begin in earnest until Griner’s sentence was finalized. But even if this result were to happen, many believe that a grave injustice has already been committed.
Sports journalist Taylor Rooks shared her disappointment with the decision, Tweeter “It’s day 168. Even one more day is too much.”
Read additional reactions to Griner’s sentencing below: