Phoenix Mercury, Connecticut Sun ‘Stand in Solidarity’ Supporting Brittney Griner Before WNBA Tip-Off

by Dustin Schutte

The WNBA is showing support for Brittney Griner, who was found guilty on drug-related charges in a Russian court on Thursday. She will serve a nine-year prison sentence.

Prior to Thursday night’s WNBA game between the Phoenix Mercury and Connecticut Sun, both teams met at half court to stand in solidarity with Griner. They stood for 42 seconds, Griner’s jersey number.

ESPN shared the video of the moment on social media.

Russian authorities arrested Griner in February after locating vape cartridges containing cannabis oil at an airport. She has been detained in the country since the arrest.

Griner faced a maximum prison sentence of 10 years on the drug-related charges. Despite the best efforts of her defense team, the court still found the WNBA star guilty.

Update on Prisoner Exchange Proposal Involving Brittney Griner

The United States has made it clear that its goal is to bring Brittney Griner and U.S. Marine Paul Whelan back to America. The U.S. has made a “substantial offer” to Russia in terms of a prisoner exchange.

In exchange for the release of Griner and Whelan, the U.S. has offered to release Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. At the time of the WNBA star’s court hearing, the offer had not been accepted.

However, the Daily Mail reports that a “desperate” Joe Biden plans to ramp up efforts. In a statement on Thursday, the White House said it will continue to “work tirelessly” to bring Griner home.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also released a statement.

“We put a substantial offer on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release,” Blinken said in a statement. “Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal. And I’ll use the conversation to follow up personally, and I hope move us toward a resolution.”