The U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Greg Stanton’s bipartisan resolution calling on the Russian government to immediately release WNBA star Brittney Griner, congressman Stanton announced.
“Not a day goes by that we aren’t thinking of Brittney and working to get her home,” Stanton (D-AZ) said in a statement. “We will continue to push for her release and make sure that she is not forgotten.”
Stanton, the former mayor of Phoenix, introduced the resolution in May along with Democratic Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Colin Allred of Texas, Griner’s home state.
WNBPA Reacts To House Resolution
“This resolution sends a clear message: securing Brittney’s release must be the highest priority of the U.S. Government, and we know the American people support every effort made to bring her home,” said Terri Carmichael Jackson, executive director of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA), according to AZ Central.
Griner’s pre-trial detention hearing was extended recently by a Russian court until July 2, the Tass News agency reported.
Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife, also made a statement. “I’m grateful for this overwhelming show of support from Congress. We need to be doing all we can to keep Brittney’s case on the forefront and finally put an end to this nightmare.”
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was arrested on February 17 at a Moscow airport for allegedly having cannabis oil in her suitcase. Griner has been playing during the off season with a Russian basketball team for the past seven years to supplement her WNBA salary.
Outpouring Of Support
A coalition of human rights groups last week called on President Joe Biden to “make a deal” to secure Griner’s release.
Forty advocacy groups including the National Organization for Women, Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD said they appreciated the Biden administration’s efforts, which included labeling Griner as “wrongfully detained” and assigning diplomats to work for her release. But they said more needs to be done.
Putin Finally Speaks Out
A spokesperson for Russian leader Vladimir Putin recently said that Griner’s detention was not “about being a hostage” but rather that she had broken the law.
Photo courtesy of Black Feminist Future