Brittney Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star was arrested in February for allegedly trying to bring vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis through a Moscow airport.
Griner pleaded guilty to those drug charges in a Russian court on Thursday and now could face up to 10 years in prison.
“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” she said in court, via Reuters. “I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare,” she added.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said during a news briefing that the WNBA star will have the ability to appeal her verdict or apply for clemency. The Foreign Ministry also disputed claims made by the U.S. that she was wrongfully detained on Feb. 17.
“The court must first deliver its verdict, but no one is stopping Brittney Griner from making use of the appeal procedure and also from requesting clemency,” a spokesperson for the ministry said, adding that “attempts to present her case as though the American woman was illegally detained do not stand up to criticism.”
There’s no doubt that Putin will use Brittney for his negotiating leverage in a potential prisoner swap case or something else.
According to Rebekah Koffler, a Russian-born former U.S. intelligence officer, and expert on Russia and Vladimir Putin, “Putin and the Kremlin want to exchange Brittney Griner for Viktor Bout, the ‘Merchant of Death,’ no one else. They will drag on the entire process, including appeal, simply as a negotiating tool to get what they want out of the Biden administration,” she explained.
The White House confirmed Wednesday that President Joe Biden spoke with Griner’s wife and is actively “working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world.”
Joe Biden and the Democrats might be the only ones who feel bad for the two-time Olympic gold medalist as many Americans have turned their backs on Griner just as she turned her back on the American flag back in 2020 when she refused to appear during the National Anthem before games.
On WNBA Opening Night, Brittney and her teammates walked off the court during a pregame warmup before the playing of the national anthem as a protest against police brutality.
Griner then called on the WNBA to cancel playing the National Anthem altogether for the rest of the season.
“I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season. I think we should take that much of a stand.”
While the WNBA continued to play the song before every game, Griner revealed that she will not be on the court for it…
“I’m going to protest regardless. I’m not going to be out there for the national anthem. If the league continues to want to play it, that’s fine. It will be all season long, I’ll not be out there. I feel like more are going to probably do the same thing. I can only speak for myself.”
Social media responded to the charges reminding the WNBA star how good she had it here in America and that maybe now she’ll respect the country that she is desperately counting on to end her nightmare overseas.