Game Two of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and The Golden State Warriors started off with a warm up in which the Celtics players wore T-Shirts in support of WNBA star Brittney Griner. As the story goes, some time in February this year, Griner, who turns out for the Phoenix Mercury, had traveled to Russia to take part in a pre season Tour. Whilst trying to catch a flight out of Moscow, Griner was detained by customs at an airport after SOME VAPE CATRIDGES were discovered in her luggage which contained cannabis. Now, we all know all about the “War on drugs” drive don’t we, particularly with regards to a minimum risk substance such as marijuana. From athletes, to celebrities, this war has been used as a weapon against minority groups in the name of getting rid of drugs from society since the 1920s. You name it, Billie Holiday, Sha’carri Richardson the list is endless. I will tell you what made me absolutely flat out laugh when I first heard about Griner’s predicament. No, I wasn’t laughing at Brittney, but how the wheel of Karma turns. The US are at the forefront of abusing the fact that cannabis is illegal against their own citizens. How then can the US government turn and say to the Russian authorities what you doing is wrong?
Anyway Brittney is being charged with large scale transportation of drugs which in Russia carries up to 10 years in the slammer. I don’t know about large scale here. The drugs seem minute to say the least to warrant such an excessive reaction from the Russians. So it must be something else. No, wait aren’t Russia at war with Ukraine right now? Aren’t Ukraine a NATO ally in which makes them US’s best friend right now? So isn’t it too far fetched that they can do a North Korea style detention on a big celeb or sports star just to get back at the US government? For me it isn’t far fetched, even news going around that Griner is being used as a bargaining chip to free a political prisoner on the other end seems to be on the money. Celebs or US citizens who want to travel to Russia do it at their own risk. Russia and US are at war here and should go straight to their heads. The only way home for Griner is a diplomatic and legal solution, nothing else. I got to be level with you, the level of seriousness shown by the US government right now will not bring her home. Why I say that. They have assigned a low level diplomat who was an ambassador to the UN to help in getting her back instead of sending the big guns. Take for example in the late 2000s, Bill Clinton had to travel to North Korea to help free journalist Laura Ling who was detained to a labor camp on the flimsiest of charges. Sometimes guys like the Russians and the North Koreans want recognition and be seen to be on the high table for them to loosen the strings. Lastly, in as much as it seems unjust in the eyes of the world, she is still under detained Russian law and we should respect it. So calls for unconditional releases should be put on the back burner for now. Why? Showing distain for other countries’ laws is a sure fire way of her being detained longer than she needs to, judges tend to want to push back if a legal system is dissed especially through the media. So if diplomatic methods fail, rather let the Russian legal process run its course.