The fallout from Brittney Griner’s guilty verdict on Thursday was felt throughout the WNBA and NBA. Players from across both leagues posted their support on social media. The Phoenix Mercury center’s detainment has been particularly tough on her teammates, who’ve had to continue playing through their emotions. Things were especially hard Thursday night as the team had a nationally televised road game against the Connecticut Sun.
The two teams began the proceedings with a 42-second moment of solidarity. Both squads gathered on the court to let BG know she’s still loved and supported. Fans in Mohegan Sun Arena started chanting “bring her home.” The Las Vegas Aces and Dallas Wings held a similar moment at their game, showing how much the eight-time All-Star means to women’s basketball.
Earlier in the day the Phoenix Mercury released a statement responding to the verdict and sentence:
“While we knew it was never the legal process that was going to bring our friend home, today’s verdict is a sobering milestone in the 168-day nightmare being endured by our sister, BG. We remain heartbroken for her, as we have every day for nearly six months. We remain grateful to and confident in the public servants working every day to return her to her family and us. We remain faithful the Administration will do what it takes to end her wrongful detention. We are inspired every day by BG’s strength and we are steadfastly committed to keeping her top-of-mind publicly until she is safely back on American soil. We will not allow her to be forgotten. We are BG.”
There were strong feelings throughout the basketball world, as WNBA and NBA players reacted to the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s imprisonment.
Brittney’s teammate Skylar Diggins-Smith explained the team’s emotional state and how hard it is for them to keep going, but they want to honor BG.
Mercury guard Diamond DeShields wrote, “Seeing BG behind these bars is breaking my heart. Praying hard for her today.”
Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams tweeted, “No way! 9 years? Bring our sister and friend home. #FREEBG”
Miami Heat superstar center Bam Adebayo’s simple message, reflected the thoughts of many fans. “Smh 9 Years…. Free BG.”
Griner’s hopes of returning home now rely on the diplomatic process and the ability of the U.S. and Russia to negotiate a prisoner exchange.