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I’m done playing abroad, Brittney Griner resolves after jail experience

Russia WNBA
Russia WNBA. Photo by AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
  • Griner played for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Yekaterinburg
  • She earned $1 million every season in the Russian league
  • She is now done playing abroad

Following her 10 months imprisonment in a Russian jail, WNBA player Brittney Griner is done playing abroad unless it’s with a US national team.

“I’m never going overseas to play again unless it’s to represent my country. “The whole reason a lot of us go over is the pay gap … to support our families, to support ourselves,” she said in her first presser since her December 8, 2022 release from Jail.

In the Russian league, Griner earned $1 million every season while back home, she earned less than $250,000 per season.

Griner played for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Yekaterinburg during the offseason but with her harrowing Russian imprisonment, she has given up.

Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner. Photo/Sky Sports

She was arrested on February 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport with vape cartridges carrying hashish oil in her luggage.

She says that she was prescribed medical cannabis in the United States to ease pain from longstanding injuries. As she hurried to catch her flight to Russia, Griner said she packed her vape cartridges by accident and pled guilty to the charges.

Cannabis use, whether for medical or recreational purposes, is prohibited in Russia.

After long diplomatic talks with Russia, the US government secured Griner’s release from prison in December 2022. The Joe Biden-led government brokered a prisoner swap deal with Russia and gave up Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer.

Griner is currently with the Phoenix Mercury where she serving a one-year deal with the team. She remains focused on playing in the WNBA. The eight-time All-Star is currently getting ready to play again with the Mercury, who face the Sparks on May 19 to open the 2023 campaign.

In a message to her fans, she told them to work through hard times in life saying that such moments are inevitable in life.

“You find a way to grind it out, put your head down and just keep going and keep going forward. You can never stand still,” she stated.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist fellow Americans detained abroad to not to lose hope and remain steadfast to their will of freedom.

Specifically, she addressed Evan Gershkovich, a US journalist who was arrested and detained in Russia in March over purported spying.

Brittney Griner wife Cherelle Watson

Brittney Griner wife Cherelle Watson. Photo/Marca

In February, the Phoenix Mercury star playing got a standing ovation at the NAACP Image Awards.

Flanked by her wife Cherelle Watson, The Phoenix Mercury player pleaded with everyone to keep fighting for all US citizens imprisoned abroad. She said a sustained fight by all will bring them home one day just like it happened to her.

Griner while celebrating all guests hosted by Queen Latifah at the NAACP Image Awards said the American voices matter. They speak for the downtrodden and those who have lost hope in life far away from home.

Her speech started with an appreciation for her wife Cherelle and a clarion call for all to fight for fellow Americans incarcerated away from home.

“It feels so good to be here, especially with my beautiful, amazing wife and with all of y’all here today,” Daily Mail reports. “I want to thank everyone and let’s keep fighting to bring home every American still detained overseas.”

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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