WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner was recently detained in Russia after a security checkpoint stop at an airport. The Phoenix Mercury star faces up to ten years in a Russian prison for allegedly trafficking drugs. The official story is that she was caught with vape cartridges containing hash oil. Hash, or “hashish” is a drug created from a concentrated form of marijuana that focuses on the main active ingredient, THC. It is not clear how many of these cartridges she had or how much hash was in each but it was apparently enough to warrant a “large-scale” drug trafficking charge.
This story, of course, has been several different ways by the media due to the war between Russia and Ukraine. It is inappropriate to do this because a drug trafficking case has nothing to do with the war effort. If Brittney Griner flew to Dubai, or even the United States with weed in her carry-on bag, she may also face prison time. A simple story of someone either intentionally trafficking drugs, accidentally keeping drugs in their bag, or a mixture of both has become wartime propaganda fodder. The narratives spun from this have gotten so crazy that there is even talk of Griner being Vladimir Putin’s political prisoner.
There is no reason for the Russian Federation to keep Brittney Griner as some sort of “hostage”. It is not like her release would somehow end the war in Ukraine. Furthermore, she is not even a high-value person in the United States. Griner was in Russia playing basketball just the same as other WNBA players. The WNBA has never been a profitable organization due to low viewership. Many pro-ball players in the women’s league play overseas in the offseason because of the ability to gain a higher salary over there. WNBA players can fetch a higher salary in a place like Russia because low-ranking American professional basketball players are more famous over there.
Allegations of racism are simply ridiculous in this circumstance. If that was the case then Brittney Griner would have no business in Russia. Why would a so-called “racist” place pay a black person *more* money to play basketball than the United States or anywhere else for that matter? Griner simply violated Russia’s rules and she is being treated as anyone else would. Her future is sort of up in limbo, however. A normal person might just have to face the music. Mainstream media news coverage may prompt the US embassy in Russia (if that still exists) to intervene.
WNBA’s Brittney Griner in Russian custody | TheHill
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WNBA Center Brittney Griner Is Detained in Russia – The New York Times
Brittney Griner: It’ll be ‘very difficult’ to get detained US basketball star out of Russia, lawmaker says | CNN
Basketball player Brittney Griner reportedly detained in Russia; WNBA, representatives working ‘to get her home’
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Fears grow Russia could use US basketball star Brittney Griner as ‘hostage’ | Basketball | The Guardian
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