Brittney Griner’s coach Vanessa Nygaard criticized the US government’s response to the WNBA star’s extended detention in Russia.
Women’s basketball star Brittney Griner has been imprisoned in Russia for 138 days. She doesn’t appear any closer to coming home than she did on Feb. 17 when she was arrested.
Her WNBA coach wants to know why.
Vanessa Nygaard, the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury, called out the American government for not doing more to free Griner. She used the example of LeBron James to do it.
Brittney Griner’s coach calls out US government: ‘If it was LeBron, he’d be home’
“If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right? It’s a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a Black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those. We know it,” Nygaard said, per Jake Tapper of CNN.
Griner is on trial for possession of cannabis oil, which she was allegedly carrying when she arrived back in the country to play for BC UMMC Ekaterinburg, her team in the Russian Premier League.
The timing of her arrest couldn’t have been worse. Russia invaded Ukraine a week after she was detained. She is now a valuable bargaining chip for the country in the midst of major international sanctions.
Recently, Griner sent a handwritten note to president Joe Biden asking for assistance.
“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” she wrote, per ESPN. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
Griner is an eight-time WNBA All-Star. She won the WNBA Championship with Phoenix in 2014. She has also won four titles in the Russian National League and four EuroLeague championships.