The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) have decided to honour Phoniex Mercury centre, Brittney Griner who was arrested in February 2022 in Russia. The decal will be seen with her initials ‘BG’ along with her number '42' on the home court sideline of all 12 teams. Griner was convicted for allegedly carrying vape cartridges with hashish oil which is an illegal substance in Russia. As reported, she was supposedly facing drug charges with 10 years of imprisonment.
Recently the U.S. government announced that the WNBA star Brittney Griner is "wrongfully detained" in Russia. The State Department spokesperson issued a comment to ABC News that said, “The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is among the highest priorities of the U.S government.”
“The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner. With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner's release.”
The State Department spokesperson also talked about how the U.S. is "deeply concerned about our lack of consistent consular access to these U.S. citizens in recent months."
"While the Government of Russia has allowed consular access in this instance, we continue to insist that they allow regular, timely consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia, including those in pre-trial detention.
“We take our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens seriously, and we will continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for all U.S. citizens when they are subject to legal processes overseas," the spokesperson added.”
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert also made a statement in Griner’s support. Engelbert said, “As we begin the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community. We continue to work on bringing Brittney home and are appreciative of the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time."
Phoenix Mercury Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Pitman also made a statement about supporting his star player. He said, "In conjunction with the league, the other 11 teams, and those closest to BG, we will work to keep her top-of-mind as we tip the 2022 season". "While we await her return, our main concern remains for her safety and well-being", he added.