Brittney Griner poses with fans on MLK Day in rare public appearance after release from Russian prison
PHOENIX, ARIZONA: After being released from Russian captivity in December 2022, Brittney Griner was seen in public for the first time since. The WNBA star reportedly attended a Martin Luther King Jr Day march in Phoenix with her wife, Cherelle. She was also seen taking photos with her fans and enjoying herself during the celebrations.
It was no surprise why Griner went public in Arizona after her release, as it is the state where she played all her WNBA games with the Mercury. However, she did not play in the 2021-22 WNBA season because she was arrested in Russia for possession of marijuana vape cartridges.
The European country sentenced the 32-year-old athlete to nine years, but on December 8 last year she was brought to the United States in exchange for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout. Upon her return, Griner shared on Instagram, "It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help."
In her post, she then expressed her gratitude towards her family, friends, and the US government by writing, “I am grateful to each person who advocated for me, especially my wife, Cherelle Griner, my family, Lindsay Kagawa Colas and Casey Wasserman and my whole team at Wasserman, Vince Kozar and the Phoenix Mercury, the players of the WNBA, and my entire WNBA family, Terri Jackson, and the WNBPA staff, my Russian legal team Maria Blagovolina and Alex Boykov, the leaders, activists, and grassroots organizations, Gov. Richardson and Mickey Bergman of the Richardson Center, the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, Roger Carstens and the SPEHA team, and of course, a special thank you to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken and the entire Biden-Harris Administration.”
“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too. I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole,” Griner had added.
Meanwhile, Griner’s first public appearance has attracted a lot of comments online with a user tweeting, “Welcome back to Phoenix @brittneygriner.” Another user wrote, “Glad to see you out and smiling, ignore the haters. ❤️” The third user shared, “Gosh so great to see her back in the US~ looks amazing, lots of love and best wishes!!#welcomehomebg.” The fourth user added, “Believe me, she knows lesson learned. She deserves a second chance and all the happiness going forward.”
Glad to see you out and smiling, ignore the haters. ❤️— Donna Wilkerson (@sibling3) January 17, 2023
Gosh so great to see her back in the US~ looks amazing, lots of love and best wishes!!#welcomehomebg— Laura Callie (@LauraCallie) January 17, 2023
Believe me, she knows lesson learned. She deserves a second chance and all the happiness going forward— erlinda desilva (@Firesign1970s) January 17, 2023
There were a few haters also as one of them remarked, “Russia forced her to cut her hair and humbled her 😂😂😂.” Another one said, “Looks like she is standing tall, will she be standing tall during the national anthem this season?”
Russia forced her to cut her hair and humbled her 😂😂😂— jayr (@adhyperd) January 17, 2023
Looks like she is standing tall, will she be standing tall during the national anthem this season?— TJ Stephan (@tejaystephan78) January 17, 2023
Oh the irony!! Hates America, gets arrested and sits in a Russian jail. And our lame president gets her out not on an equal trade !! She should have spent a little more time in a labor camp there. I am curious to know what she thinks of taking her freedom for granted !SMH— Kim (@Kim92552309) January 17, 2023
“Oh the irony!! Hates America, gets arrested and sits in a Russian jail. And our lame president gets her out not on an equal trade !! She should have spent a little more time in a labor camp there. I am curious to know what she thinks of taking her freedom for granted !SMH,” a tweet read.
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