President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, And Others React To News Of Brittney Griner’s Release From Russian Prison
WNBA star Brittney Griner is on her way home after spending months in a Russian prison. CBS News was the first to break the news on Thursday morning (December 8) after President Joe Biden tweeted, “She’s safe. She’s on a plane. She’s on her way home.”
The two-time Olympic Gold medalist’s return is predicated on a prisoner swap with Viktor Bout (nicknamed “the Merchant of Death”) a convicted Russian arms dealer who was serving a 25-year prison sentence on terrorism charges. Bout has been released and is now on his way to Russia as Griner is on a plane home. She was originally detained in February 2022 after being detained in for possession of cannabis oil.
Besides the President, other notable names have responded to the news of Griner’s release. Here are a few statements giving praise to the Biden Administration for the efforts made in her release and some who are pointing out the bigger issue about fair pay wages for women athletes.
“Nothing can replace the time that she has lost, but we hope that her family can find comfort in the fact that Brittney will be free to celebrate the holidays with them.”–NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson
"There has not been a day over the past ten months where we all haven't had Britney Griner on our minds and in our hearts and that has now turned into a collective wave of joy and relief knowing that she will soon be reunited with her family, the WNBA player community, and her friends. BG has shown extraordinary courage and dignity in the face of enormous adversity. The WNBA is grateful beyond measure to the Biden Administration, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, and all those who played a role in bringing BG home today. Our hope is that Paul Whelan and every wrongfully detained American will be returned home safely and as soon as possible."–Cathy Engelbert, WNBA Commissioner
“After nine horrific months behind bars, Brittney Griner’s family, friends, and teammates can finally breathe a sigh of relief that she’s on her way home. For months we kept the pressure on President Biden to do everything in his power to bring Brittney home. Today, we gladly applaud the administration for the hard work of ensuring Brittney’s imprisonment finally came to an end. My prayers for her and her family remain as strong today as ever, because her journey is far from over. Brittney returns home with spiritual and emotional wounds that can only heal now that she’s free. I and the ministers who were denied access to see her in Russia look forward to meeting her here, so we can finally pray over her and offer her spiritual guidance. We also continue to pray for the release of Paul Whelan and all U.S. citizens detained abroad.”–Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network