Brittney Griner’s Prison Sentence Upheld in Russian Court, Social Media Goes Off

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, WNBA star Brittney Griner—who’s been kept in a Russian detention center since February of this year—saw her attempt at an appeal denied, with officials upholding the athlete’s nine-year prison sentence. Social media, which has been outspoken about Griner’s case since she was originally arrested, erupted in a frenzy after hearing the Russian court’s decision.

Some Twitter users critiqued the athlete, painting her as a hypocrite after denouncing certain American traditions and values.

“Brittney Griner’s appeal of her nine-year prison sentence on drug charges has been rejected by a Moscow court,” one Twitter user wrote, “and the WNBA star is now expected to serve her time in a Russian penal colony.”

Critiquing Brittney Griner, he continued, “I wonder how much she still disrespects America? My guess is she probably is blaming us.”

Others, however, were much more empathetic.

“My heart aches for this Woman,” a second Twitter user wrote. “God grant her peace.”

As we await further news, Brittney Griner’s sentence is sure to continue to split social media users.

A third Twitter user offered much less sympathy. Instead, they shared a blunt, simple observation.

“This is just a guess but if #BrittneyGriner would have been taught that even the simplest silly rules applied to her and that breaking them had consequences she probably wouldn’t be sitting in a Russian prison for ignoring theirs.”

Brittney Griner to Relocate to Penal Colony Following Appeal Rejection

A Russian court denied 32-year-old Brittney Griner an appeal after issuing her a nine-year prison sentence in August. Griner was convicted of drug smuggling after officials at a Moscow airport found vape cartridges containing hashish in her luggage.

Now, unless the United States government can negotiate a deal with the Russians, Griner will officially begin to serve her nine-year sentence in a penal colony. Officials will relocate the basketball star there after spending the last eight months in a detention center awaiting her fate. Aside from her prison sentence, the courts also demanded that Griner pay one million rubles, the equivalent of $16,590.

President Biden Willing to Meet with Vladimir Putin About Griner’s Release

Social media isn’t the only place that Brittney Griner’s seen overwhelming support. Recently, the professional athlete’s wife Cherelle spoke publicly about the Biden Administration. She specifically highlighted their continued effort in trying to get Brittney home. In addition, President Biden himself stated he would be willing to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That is, if he were willing to negotiate Griner’s release.

During a previous interview with CNN, Biden said, “Look, I have no intention of meeting with him, but…if came to me at the G20 and said, ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I would meet with him, but that would depend.

Biden explained, “[Putin’s] acted brutally, I think he’s committed war crimes, and so I don’t…see any rationale to meet with him now.”

Biden’s above statements came amid Russia’s months-long battle with the smaller nation of Ukraine.