The Biden administration recently cut a deal with Russia to return WNBA star Brittney Griner back to the United States in exchange for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout who was so successful at his criminal job that he was nicknamed the “Merchant of Death.”
Griner was sentenced to ten years in a Russian prison for being in possession of marijuana vape cartridges which are illegal in the country. Griner spent ten months in the Russian prison before the prisoner swap occurred.
While Griner has been returned to the states, U.S. Marine Paul Whelan has been locked in prison since 2018 and the Biden administration decided to bring home a WNBA player over a man that served our country.
After her return to the states, Griner released a statement thanking the Biden administration for their efforts and showing her appreciation for the support she received from the public while being imprisoned in Russia.
“It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.
“I am grateful to each person who advocated for me, especially my wife, Cherelle Griner, my family, Lindsay Kagawa Colas and Casey Wasserman and my whole team at Wasserman, Vince Kozar and the Phoenix Mercury, the players of the WNBA, and my entire WNBA family, Terri Jackson and the WNBPA staff, my Russian legal team Maria Blagovolina and Alex Boykov, the leaders, activists, and grassroots organizations, Gov. Richardson and Mickey Bergman of the Richardson Center, the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, Roger Carstens and the SPEHA team, and of course, a special thank you to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken and the entire Biden-Harris Administration.
“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too. I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.
“As I transition home to enjoy the holidays with my family, I want to acknowledge and thank the entire PISA staff and medical team at the San Antonio Fort Sam Houston Base. I appreciate the time and care to make sure I was okay and equipped with the tools for this new journey.
“I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon.
Love always, BG #42“
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