'Pretend it's Tom Brady': Coach James Wade slams US govt for inaction over Brittney Griner's Russian detention
Renowned Phoenix Mercury basketball player, Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia on February 17, 2022, at a Moscow airport after the local authorities claimed to have found her to be allegedly carrying cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage. Since then, she has been detained in Russia and is expected to face up to 10 years in prison if she is found guilty of carrying and drug smuggling charges. The trial of the 6-feet-9 player started on July 1.
WNBA coach James Wade was extremely disappointed with no progress in Griner's case and expressed his frustration by slamming the United States government. Just one day after the trial, the Chicago Sky coach told the Chicago Sun-Times: "We have a woman who represents everything that we’re supposed to stand for that’s sitting in a prison." He also stated, "And we’re just making posts. She’s played for our country and brought our country glory, and this is how we’re treating her. It’s disgusting."
More than 300,000 people have also signed a petition filed by the Women's National Basketball Player's Association calling for help from the White House and States Department. Wade further added "The White House knows where Griner is. She’s been there for four months. Why do we have to sign a petition? Let’s pretend it’s Tom Brady. Would we have to sign a petition then?" Many fans have been seen holding "Free BG" signs at WNBA games this season.
Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner also expressed her resentment towards the US Government while speaking to CNN. Cherelle calls her wife BG and told that she has spoken to her and Brittney said that she is "exhausted". In the interview given to the channel on Thursday, she said "So BG is having to travel over five hours round trip when she goes to court in a very, very, very tiny cage with her knees bent, feet up to the ground, because it's not big enough for her to fit in." Previously on their wedding anniversary, Griner had tried to get in touch with Cherelle and she called the US embassy 11 times but no one picked or answered to her call as it was a weekend and no one was manning the lines.
The experts, however, have a different opinion regarding this situation. According to Insider's Meredith Cash, it is nothing more than a "show trial" and the outcome of it has also been already decided. Griner has had an illustrious career so far as a sportswoman. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a four-time Euroleague champion. She also won the WNBA title before she was arrested in Russia, just a week before Ukraine was invaded by the same country.