Distinguished US sports activities stars confirmed assist for Olympic champion Brittney Griner, who’s being held in Russia on drug prices, at Wednesday evening’s ESPY Awards.
NBA star Stephen Curry hosted the awards present, also known as the Emmys of the sports activities world. Griner was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February over allegations that he was making an attempt to deliver hemp oil into Russia. He faces as much as 10 years in jail. The US authorities believes the 31-year-old girl has been detained illegally, and a few imagine her arrest was politically motivated at a time when tensions between Russia and the US have been rising.
Curry famous the efforts to deliver Griner residence, however mentioned extra must be achieved.
“However we hope for the perfect, we ask your entire world sports activities neighborhood to maintain up the vitality on his behalf,” he mentioned. “[Griner] is certainly one of us, a group of athletes on this room tonight and all over the world. A group that has nothing to do with politics or world conflicts.
US soccer star Megan Rapinoe gained the perfect recreation award and drew consideration to Griner’s incarceration together with her speech.
“I truthfully assume what we witnessed tonight is the significance of sports activities and the way a lot we will deliver and the way a lot we will do on the earth with our collective energy,” Rapinoe mentioned. “Each time we are saying his title, it places stress on everyone — places stress on the administration, places stress on Russia. Most strikingly, BG shouldn’t be right here. BG deserves to be free. We are able to assist him extra and let him know we love him a lot.
Griner’s spouse, Cherelle, was within the viewers and applauded him for mentioning the participant’s ordeal. Griner was in Russia to play for UMMC Yekaterinburg, however she can also be a WNBA star for the Phoenix Mercury. Her fellow WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith additionally talked about Griner on the present.
“It has now been 153 nights that BG has been illegally detained 1000’s of miles from residence, away from his household, away from his mates, away from his group,” Diggins-Smith mentioned. “All through this time, we have saved him in our ideas and hearts, despite the fact that we all know it will not be sufficient to deliver him residence.”
Griner pleaded responsible to drug possession and trafficking at a trial earlier this month, however mentioned “there was no intent. I did not wish to break the legislation.”
Griner’s authorized group in Russia mentioned the responsible plea was “his resolution”, including: “Considering the character of his case, the insignificant quantity of the substance and BG’s character and constructive contribution to world and Russian sports activities, the protection hopes that the Court docket will contemplate the plea as a mitigating circumstance and never impose a harsh sentence to find out.
It has been speculated that Griner could also be a part of a prisoner swap for Russian arms vendor Viktor Bout, who’s serving a sentence within the US for conspiring to kill US residents and offering support to a terrorist group.