Who’s Brittney Griner, the American basketball star sentenced to 9 years in jail in Russia | World

Brittney Griner is 2.06 meters tall and weighs 93 kilograms. He wears a measurement 51 (US 17) shoe – and his fingers are barely wider than American basketball star LeBron James.

Had Griner not entered the skilled ladies’s basketball league (WNBA) at age 22, she would have adopted in her father’s footsteps and turn into a police officer.

It’s your “function mannequin”, it has been stated previously.

Now she has simply been sentenced by a Russian court docket to 9 years in jail on “drug” associated expenses.

Griner, 31, was arrested at an airport within the Russian capital final February after customs officers discovered e-cigarette liquid in her baggage containing hashish oil, which is against the law in Russia and which the athlete claims he used for medicinal functions.

The Olympic medalist has since been in jail and pleaded responsible to drug expenses in an effort to get a lowered sentence, though she stated she had no intention of breaking any legal guidelines.

The US says she is “wrongfully detained” and has requested the Kremlin to launch her in a prisoner alternate, however it’s not recognized if they’ve obtained a response to the proposal.

Griner, recognized to Phoenix Mercury followers as BG and thought of one of the best offensive participant in skilled ladies’s basketball in the US, received her first battle as quickly as she entered the WNBA.

Griner was the primary participant within the US ladies’s skilled basketball league to return out as homosexual (Picture: Getty Pictures through BBC)

She was the primary participant within the league who had the braveness to publicly come out as homosexual, whatever the penalties that popping out might need.

“Earlier than Griner, there was a shadow over the league saying (coaching) ‘do not say homosexual,'” explains sports activities columnist Tamryn Spruill.

“She simply stated, ‘What the hell, it is me.’

This boldness led to her turning into the primary overtly homosexual athlete (each female and male) to be sponsored by Nike after being chosen first within the WNBA draft.

On the age of 31, Griner has received two Olympic gold medals, the title of Most Worthwhile Participant within the American Ladies’s Basketball League, and the WNBA and Euroleague championships.

A local of Houston, Texas, she obtained a basketball scholarship to Baylor College, the place she led the staff to a nationwide championship.

The basketball star was arrested in February – Picture: Getty Pictures through BBC

However Griner has now been sentenced to 9 years in jail for touring with hemp oil for e-cigarettes within the low season in the US to Russia, the place he beforehand performed within the Euroleague with UMMC Yekaterinburg.

Griner did what different WNBA teammates did: she performed abroad to complement her revenue. He earned 5 instances extra in Russia than in the US.

“Wage inequality in the US has led to Brittney Griner’s unjust imprisonment in Russia, the place she is getting used as a political pawn,” explains WeAreBG, a marketing campaign organized by different athletes who belong to the Nationwide Ladies’s Basketball Affiliation.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the Euroleague suspended all Russian groups, and the US and the WNBA started recalling their gamers.

The athlete was about to board a aircraft again to the US when a Russian Federal Customs Service canine had authorities search her carry-on baggage, the place they discovered e-cigarette liquids containing hemp oil.

A couple of months later, the sports activities star pleaded responsible to drug expenses, though he stated he had no intention of breaking any legal guidelines.

Through the months of detention, Cherelle Watson, the athlete’s spouse and a 28-year-old lawyer, claimed that Russian authorities denied her consular entry and communication with household and buddies.

A Russian court docket has simply sentenced her to 9 years in jail for “drug-related” expenses and to pay a high quality of 1 million rubles ($16,300).

As well as, in response to the court docket, he should serve his sentence in a penal colony.

WNBA followers defended his launch (Picture: Getty Pictures through BBC)

US President Joe Biden referred to as Griner’s conviction “unacceptable” and demanded his instant launch.

“At the moment, American citizen Brittney Griner was sentenced to jail, which is one other reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” he stated in a press release.

Days earlier than the sentencing, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduced that the Biden administration had made a “important” prisoner swap provide to Russia to safe the return of Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

“As I sit right here in a Russian jail, alone with my ideas and with out the safety of my spouse, household, buddies, Olympic jersey or any achievements, I’m terrified that I’ll keep right here endlessly,” she wrote in a letter to Biden. from jail in July.

US media reported that the Moscow authorities is fascinated about exchanging the basketball star for convicted Russian arms vendor Viktor Bout.

Nevertheless, the conviction modified the panorama.

For now, Griner’s attorneys have indicated they may enchantment the choice after criticizing that the Russian court docket “fully ignored all of the protection proof and, extra importantly, the responsible plea” made by the athlete, within the hope of receiving a lesser sentence.

When Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent, realized of the sentence, she tweeted:

“It is a time for compassion and a shared understanding that will probably be tough to make a deal that brings Individuals dwelling, however it’s pressing and the correct factor to do.”

Russia sentenced American basketball participant Brittney Griner to 9 years in jail

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