Q&A: When might WNBA star Brittney Griner be released by Russia?

Phoenix Mercury guard Sophie Cunningham wears a t-shirt in support of Brittney Griner.

Phoenix Mercury guard Sophie Cunningham wears a t-shirt in support of Brittney Griner before a game against the Las Vegas Aces May 6.

(Darryl Webb / Associated Press)

After the US government officially ruled Griner wrongly imprisoned, Colas and her team focused on a public and private strategy to rally support to bring the star home. Griner’s WNBA teammates and numerous NBA players, including Lakers star LeBron James, have joined celebrities and musicians in clothing and posting messages in support of Griner.

Her supporters, including her wife, have conducted extensive local and national media interviews and a variety of groups have supported her efforts. Both the WNBA and NBA have repeatedly called for Griner’s release, adding her initials to WNBA courts and making her an honorary All-Star to draw further attention to her incarceration.

In a letter sent to the White House on Wednesday, 44 organizations — including the National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign and the National Urban League — called on Biden to agree a deal for Griner’s release.

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed Rep. Greg Stanton’s resolution calling on the Russian government to release Griner immediately and to support U.S. government efforts to secure her release.

Along with letters of support from high-profile figures, “We are BG” clothing and pins keeping Griner in the spotlight, and social media campaigns, supporters have started a petition to show how many people want Griner’s release.

The strategy is similar to previous efforts to free wrongfully imprisoned people from US prisons and to support Raphael Warnock’s successful run for the US Senate in Georgia.

The petition calling for Griner’s release, which has more than 275,000 signatures can be found on WeAreBG.org. The website also includes information about Griner’s case to explain what it means to be wrongly imprisoned.

“People have to be aware of that. Do you want your child, your sister, your friend, your family to be used as a political pawn? Forget being a celebrity. Most people are normal people. Normal people with no resources and teams and advisors,” said Colas. “This should matter because most wrongfully imprisoned are not celebrities and it could happen to anyone if we don’t act and prioritize all wrongfully imprisoned Americans.”

Colas said the goal is to collect at least half a million signatures for the petition and send them to the White House to illustrate strong support for bringing Griner home.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-06-26/brittney-griner-situation-detained-russia-return-release Q&A: When might WNBA star Brittney Griner be released by Russia?

Emma Bowman

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