NBA world reacts to Brittney Griner being sentenced to 9 years in prison

Brad Sullivan
2 Min Read
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Current and former NBA players, as well as the NBA, expressed their outrage over the nine-year prison sentence given to women’s basketball star Brittney Griner on Thursday.

Griner was arrested in Russia in February of this year and charged with possession of a cannabis oil. She remains jailed as American officials continue to pursue ways to return her to the United States.

The arrest of Griner came shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a move that’s drawn international condemnation and made the country a pariah among other nations.

During her trial in Russia, Griner admitted to being in possession of the cannabis oil. People are criticizing the length of the sentence and how Griner is being used as a political pawn by Russia.

In addition to Griner, the United States is also seeking to obtain the release of Paul Whelan, who has been jailed since 2018 in Russia after being arrested on espionage charges. Like Griner’s arrest, Whelan’s arrest has been tied to Russia’s attempts to use jailed Americans as bartering tools.

One former American jailed in Russia on questionable charges, Trevor Reed, has strongly advocated for Griner’s release.

The emotions expressed by the smattering of basketball notables offer a window into just how much of an impact that Griner has made during her career in the sport.

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Brad has written on a variety of both NBA and NFL topics and has worked previously as a sports information director at the collegiate level. A lifetime fan of sports, he's witnessed countless great moments in different sports and understands that stories can be compelling from both the perspective of winners and losers. As a frustrated fan of Cleveland sports, he experienced something unprecedented when the Cavaliers won the city's first championship in 52 years.