September 24, 2023

Reported by multiple outlets, WNBA star And Olympian Brittney Griner is currently being held captive and has been for the last 3 weeks after Russian Customs agents alleged they found vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage. This is the first time national or international news has truly spoken on it. Obviously the backdrop of Griner, An American born player, held captive during a time of conflict between Russia, Ukraine, and Ukrainian Allies including America makes the situation incredibly tense. In fact, the thought alone that Griner has been held for 3 weeks over cartridges is terrifying.

And this also goes back to highlight some of the things that must happen with the WNBA and paying their star players In a manner that would allow them to not have to play in multiple leagues in order to generate the income they deserve. Griner plays in Russia to supplement her WNBA income. In fact, WNBA players go to Russia to play because they were getting paid more to play in Russia.

This statement is not to bash the WNBA’s limitations but to challenge whomever helps to fund and support the league to ensure that the female athletes are being paid in a manner reflective of their talent and product.

The W.N.B.A. said in a statement that Griner “has the W.N.B.A.’s full support and our main priority is her swift and safe return to the United States.”

Griner is a Black, Queer woman who has represented America on multiple occasions in the Olympics. That we could go 3 weeks without knowing of the circumstances she was facing in a Russian jail is extremely concerning on multiple levels as we know that multi-marginalized issues often take a back seat in regard to what America prioritizes.

We will continue following this story as it develops.

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