Brittney Griner has not been forgotten in the NBA Finals.
The WNBA star has been detained in Russia for more than 100 days. The United States insists that the arrest procedure was improper.
And some members of the Boston Celtics are using their platform during the NBA title series to add their voices to those demanding that Griner be allowed to return to their nation.
Several players wore black jerseys that read “We are BG,” Griner’s initials, during Saturday’s practice session. This Sunday, the second game of the Finals between Boston and the Golden State Warriors will take place.
“It’s extremely difficult to see what she’s going through,” Celtics star Jayson Tatum said. “I know that everyone feels and sees this, and obviously we are all together to support her and try to get her back with her family … Yes, we wore those shirts today to show our support for her.”
The garments also had a QR code printed on the bibs that leads to an online petition seeking to gather 300,000 signatures in support of Griner being allowed back in the United States.
“We felt like it was a good idea to use our availability and our platforms to bring attention to certain issues,” said Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who holds a position with the players’ union. “I have always defended that. If you are an athlete, you are not only here to entertain people. We have a voice.”
Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, has been in custody since February. Authorities allegedly found some electronic cigarette cartridges containing a cannabis derivative in her luggage at the Moscow airport.
The player, a two-time Olympic champion with the United States, faces drug charges that could land her in prison for up to 10 years.
Russian authorities insist that Griner’s case is purely criminal, with no political connotations.
But the war launched by Russia against Ukraine has caused relations between Moscow and Washington to deteriorate to their worst since the Cold War.