Skylar Diggins-Smith discussed what it was like for the Phoenix Mercury to play the same day that Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison.
On Thursday, the sports world was shaken to its core following the latest update regarding Brittney Griner. The WNBA star has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17 after less than one gram of cannabis oil was found in her luggage at an airport. On Aug. 4, Griner was found guilty on drug charges and sentenced to nine years in prison, while also receiving a 1 million rubles fine, which is approximately $16,700.
Griner’s team, the Phoenix Mercury, played their game against the Connecticut Sun hours after the sentencing. After the game, Skylar Diggins-Smith discussed how the news affected the locker room and expressed her belief that no one wanted to play the game.
You can listen to Diggins-Smith’s comments below, courtesy of the Mercury’s official Twitter account.
Skylar Diggins-Smith discusses playing on day Brittney Griner was sentenced to prison in Russia
Prior to tip-off, both the Mercury, Sun, and fans in attendance stood in solidarity for Griner for 42 seconds. Fans chanted “bring her home” during the moment of solidarity.
Griner pleaded guilty to the charges one month prior to this verdict, saying that she accidentally packed the cannabis oil in her bags and did not intentionally bring them into the country.
Ahead of the sentencing, a CNN report revealed that the Biden administration had made a prisoner swap offer to Russia that would bring Griner and former U.S. Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan home in exchange for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year sentence.
Russian Foreign Prime Minister Sergei Larvov said on Friday, the day after Griner’s sentencing, that they were “ready to discuss” the prisoner exchange offer.