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Brittney Griner’s Tearful WNBA Teammates Play On after Her Conviction

By: Sydney Xiong

Brittney Griner’s Tearful WNBA Teammates Play On after Her Conviction

The Mercury were scheduled to take on the Connecticut Sun at 7 pm, and the team was

supposed to be on the court doing their pre-game warm up and shooting routine, but nobody

showed up.

Instead, the Mercury players were sitting in the locker rooms, glued to the television as

they watched their teammate Brittney Griner’s conviction and sentencing on drug smuggling and possession charges earlier in a Russian Court thousands of miles away. “It was like you’re waiting for a bomb to drop,” Mercury guard Diamond DeShields said.

The team watched with tearful eyes as their teammate fought through her own tears and

pleaded the Russian court not to “end her life” over an “honest mistake”. She was fined 1 million rubles, which is equivalent to 16,000 dollars and sentenced to 9 years in a penal colony. This sentence allows for Griner to be returned to the US through a prisoner swap, but this news was still heartbreaking for the team to hear.

“And we’re still supposed to play this game,” Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said

after the game. “Nobody even wanted to play today. How are we even supposed to approach the game and approach the court with a clear mind when the whole group is crying before the game?” Griner has been detained in Russia since February 17, after customs officials found hashish oil, a cannabis derivative, in Griner’s luggage at an airport near Moscow when she was traveling to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg. Griner said during her trial that the hashish oil, which was in a vape pen, was packed by accident. WNBA players and other professional athletes have fiercely campaigned for Griner’s freedom. In May, U.S. The State Department determined that Grined had been “wrongfully detained” and that its officials would work. Experts speculate that the prisoner swap is the most likely path of Griner’s release.

Meanwhile, Griner’s teammates and fans have worked hard to continue their public support


“It just hurts — I love her as a player, and it’s just a sad situation,” said SharonWhite, a

fan and season ticket holder since 2002. While wiping tears from her eyes. She added: “She doesn’t need to be there. When she comes home, she doesn’t need to go back. I think none of our players should go over there.”

“We’ll wake up tomorrow, and B.G. will still be in a Russian jail,” Nygaard said. “It’s day

169 or something tomorrow, and the clock continues, and we just want her to come home.”

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