Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry joins countless NBA and WNBA athletes in calling on Russia to release Brittney Griner from unlawful detainment.
It’s been 113 days now since Brittney Griner was wrongfully detained in Russia, and everyone from Dawn Staley to Breanna Stewart to Magic Johnson is calling on the U.S. government to bring her home.
Griner’s detention has been a focal point of the beginning of the WNBA season and the culmination of the NBA season, where players participating in the NBA Finals are using their platform to bring BG home.
In a recent interview with Steph Curry, ESPN’s Malika Andrews broached a topic many in the basketball world have brought up: if it were LeBron James or Steph Curry in Griner’s situation, would it have been resolved by now?
“There’s something to that,” Curry told Andrews. “From the time you heard about the story unfolding and understand what she was going through and where she was at, and the helplessness almost, of like, ‘what do you do to help get her home safely and quickly?’ And now we’ve been over 110 days that she’s been wrongfully detained… It’s an unfortunate situation. It’s a tragedy. She needs to be home. She needs to be safe. She needs to be with her family. She needs to be back home.”
Steph Curry calls the Russian detention of Brittney Griner a “tragedy”
As U.S.-Russian relations remain tense in the midst of the war in Ukraine, American foreign policy experts remain uncertain on when Griner will be brought home.
The AP’s Eric Tucker detailed how Griner’s fate is inextricably linked to that of another wrongfully detained American in Russian custody, Paul Whelan. Whelan has been detained in Russia since 2018 on espionage charges that he and the U.S. government deny. The knowledge that Griner is a high-profile athlete initially stymied public campaigns for her release: Griner’s family did not want Brittney to be used as a political tool by Russia in a prisoner swap.
As Tucker illustrates, either Griner or Whelan could come home, which creates a harrowing situation for either prisoner left behind. If the United States wants to bring Griner and Whelan home, there’s no need to look further than the price they paid for Trevor Reed, another wrongfully- detained prisoner who returned to the United States this April.
Reed is urging the Biden administration to bring Griner home as soon as possible — because she is in unique danger as a Black lesbian in Russia.
The Phoenix Mercury is meeting with officials in Washington D.C. next week to learn more details about Griner’s situation. Skylar Diggins-Smith, who has been a close friend and teammate to Griner for years, has been visibly affected by the painful absence of Griner.
While it’s difficult to know exactly how the world would react if Steph Curry was wrongfully detained and missed the NBA Finals, Curry doesn’t want to focus on comparisons. He just wants to bring Brittney home.
“I think, if you compare the noise and the conversation and the awareness of her situation versus somebody else, I don’t like to play that game, because right now, it’s just about getting her home and everybody joining that effort and joining that front to make sure that she’s talked about and all hands are on deck and all resources are thrown to getting her home as soon as possible,” Curry said. “I know those efforts are ongoing, and hopefully they’ll be a positive ending to this story.”