WNBA player Britney Griner said she wants to stand for the national anthem.
Griner, who was held in a Russian prison for 10 months over possession of an illegal substance, played her first WNBA game since returning to the United States on Friday.
The WNBA star previously commented on hearing the national anthem during her first game since returning to the United States saying, “it definitely hit different.”
“You have the right to protest, the right to able to speak out, question, challenge and do all these things,” Griner said, according to ESPN. “What I went through and everything, it just means a little bit more to me now. So I want to be able to stand. I was literally in a cage [in Russia] and could not stand the way I wanted to.”
“Just being able to hear my national anthem, see my flag, I definitely want to stand. Now everybody that will not stand or not come out, I totally support them 100 percent. That’s our right, as an American in this great country.”
GRINER: “Just being able to hear my national anthem, see my flag, I definitely want to stand. Now everybody that will not stand or not come out, I totally support them 100 percent. That’s our right, as an American in this great country.” https://t.co/oeKOZimnOw
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 22, 2023
In 2020 Griner, along with fellow WNBA player Brianna Turner, came out against the WNBA playing the national anthem before games.
“I personally don’t think it belongs in sports,” Turner said. “It’s not played at Walmart, it’s not played when you go to Six Flags. Why is it played before sporting events?”
In late April, Griner came out in support of biological men identifying as transgender woman in women’s sports.
“That ranks high on the list of things I’ll be fighting for and speaking up against,” Griner said when asked by an ESPN reporter about advocating for transgender athletes. “Everyone deserves the right to play. Everyone deserves the right to come here, sit in these seats, and feel safe. And not feel like there’s the threat, or they can’t be who they are, or like it’s just all eyes on them.”
“I think it’s a crime, honestly, to separate someone for any reason. So, I definitely will be speaking up against that legislation and those laws that are trying to be passed, for sure.”
In August 2021, Griner was sentenced by a Moscow court to nine years in prison for bringing cannabis into Russia. While traveling through the Sheremetyevo Airport in February, Griner was detained by police who said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage.
The Phoenix Mercury player was arrested in February and pleaded guilty on July 7, although she testified that she had mistakenly put the CBD oil canisters in her luggage while hastily packing. Judge Anna Sotnikova also fined the professional athlete 1 million rubles – about $16,700.
In exchange for Griner’s release, the U.S. government agreed to release Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who has been in American custody for 12 years while serving a 25-year sentence. Bout was convicted on arms charges and for conspiring to kill Americans.
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