Brittney Griner’s coach on lack of urgency to get her released: ‘If it was LeBron, he would be home, right?’

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

One of the most disturbing stories to come out of the world of sports this year has been the ongoing detention of WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia.

Griner, who was first arrested earlier this year for carrying hash vape cartridges in her luggage at a Moscow airport, recently made a direct appeal to President Joe Biden for her freedom.

She remains detained in Russia and is currently on trial for her alleged crimes.

Along with the appeal has come a recent wave of criticism about the perceived double standard that female athletes have to deal with.

Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard recently spoke about the double standard and made it clear that she believes Griner would already be home if she were an NBA star. She specifically mentioned Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James when making her statement.

“If it was LeBron, he would be home, right?” she asked. “It is a statement about the value of women. It is a statement about the value of a Black person. It is a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those things. And we know it. And so, that’s what hurts a little more.”

Nygaard admitted that the letter Griner sent to Biden made her cry.

“It’s great she was able to get that message to us,” she added. “And hopefully some people are paying attention to it.”

It is an incredibly delicate and difficult situation for all those involved. Not only is Griner being charged with a crime on foreign land, but she is also being held by a nation that has become something of an international pariah due to its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

During more peaceful times, it is quite likely that United States would be more willing to make a deal with Russia’s government. Right now, any kind of deal could have international implications.

Still, the ongoing imprisonment of Griner over something that would be completely legal in much of the United States is horrifying. The fact that the criminal charges brought against her can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in Russia is even more concerning.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.