Yesterday, October 18, marked Brittney Griner’s 32nd birthday. She spent her birthday behind bars in Russia, where she has been since February of this year.
Griner was locked up in February 2022 by Russian authorities. Russian officials discovered cannabis oil in her luggage at the airport. Reportedly, they found less than a gram of hash oil cartridges. Her trial began on July 1st, and she pled guilty to the charges. She received nine years at her sentencing on August 4th. She also paid a fine of $16,500.
Since her imprisonment by Russian authorities, U.S. officials have tried to get the country to release Griner back to the United States, matters complicated by Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.
In recent weeks, the United States has been looking to organize a prisoner swap to bring Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan back into the states. Russia, in return, would receive Viktor Bout — also known as the “Merchant of Death.” Bout is a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving time in America.
Cherelle also went on to add that she has “felt every minute of the grueling seven months without her.” In her caption, she wrote
Split Reactions on Social Media Regarding Brittney Griner Update
As expected, people on Twitter were divided over Griner trending on the app as people called for her release. Last night, before the Golden State Warriors’ matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers, NBA superstar Stephen Curry mentioned Griner and the efforts to bring her home.
While some fans appreciated the gesture, others didn’t appreciate the language Curry used when describing Griner as “wrongfully incarcerated.”
“The Warriors organization is so classy,” one fan wrote, praising the team for mentioning Griner. “This ring and banner presentation is really cool. Loved that Curry shouted out #BrittneyGriner on their big night, and on her birthday.”
However, one person chimed in with a near opposite opinion. “Don’t break the law .. especially if you’re in another country. #BrittneyGriner thought he was above all that legal nonsense.”
One user seemed to think that while Russia should have released her by now, she wasn’t being wrongfully detained.
“‘Wrongfully’?” one user asked. “Cmon now y’all athletes & sports casters need to stop. She got locked up cus she broke one of that country’s laws. Is Russia flexing with this detainment? Absolutely. But #BrittneyGriner is not being ‘wrongfully’ incarcerated so stop using that phrase,” they wrote.
Tennis icon Billie Jean King wrote: “Today, Brittney Griner turns 32. She will spend her birthday in a Russian prison, where she has been unlawfully detained for 8 months. Let’s continue to advocate for her release and bring her home.”
However, some people again took issue with the phrasing of Griner’s situation. One user responded back to King.
“She hasn’t been ‘unlawfully detained.’ She broke russian laws. What she did wouldn’t see her jailed in the US … but she is not in the US! There is nothing unlawful about her situation. If you can’t follow the laws of a foreign country – don’t go there!”