HomeSportsBrittney Griner Released From Russia, Social Media Explodes

Brittney Griner Released From Russia, Social Media Explodes

by Samantha Whidden
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Following the news that WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from Russian custody in a one-for-one prison swap, the Internet had some thoughts on the situation. 

As previously reported, Brittney Griner is currently on her way back to the U.S. after U.S. officials conducted a one-for-one prison swap with Russia for international arms dealer Viktor Bout. The agreement was negotiated over the past few weeks and was approved by President Biden last week. The swap took place on Thursday (December 8th) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

President Biden also announced that he spoke to Brittney Griner and she was on a plane heading back to the U.S. “Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner,” Biden stated on Twitter, noting the WNBA player is safe. “She is on a plane. She is on her way home.”

As the WNBA star makes her way home, social media users shared their thoughts about what happened. “Thank you President Biden and the State Department for bringing home Brittney Griner,” one person wrote. “Stop going to Russia!”

Other Twitter users pointed out the importance of Griner learning a lesson about breaking laws in other countries. “I don’t care about Brittney Griner. I’m glad she’s free and hopefully learns a lesson about breaking the law.”

Meanwhile, some critics took a shot at President Biden for getting Brittney Griner out of Russian custody, but not former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is still imprisoned in Russia for espionage charges. “We cannot forget that Paul Whelan remains a wrongly detained prisoner since 2018,” a Twitter user declared.

Another added, “So happy for Brittney and her family! So sad for Paul Whelan. Why was he left behind?”

President Biden Was With Brittney Griner’s Wife During Phone Call With WNBA Player 

According to The Guardian, President Biden issued a statement about speaking to Brittney Griner after she was officially released from Russian custody. 

“Moments ago, standing together with her wife Cherelle in the Oval Office, I spoke with Brittney Griner,” President Biden explained. “She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home after months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances. Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along.”

President Biden further thanked U.S. officials who worked on the case to free Brittney Griner as well as conducted the one-for-one prisoner swap in the UAE. “Because that’s where she landed,” Biden noted. He also stated the past few months have been “hell” for Griner as well as her teammates and family. 

Meanwhile, President Biden spoke about Whelan’s case and how his administration isn’t forgetting about the former U.S. Marine. “We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan, who’s been unjustly detained in Russia for years.”