‘9 Years? That’s a Disgrace’: Brittney Griner’s Prison Sentence Draws Scathing Criticism From Boxing Superstar

Published 08/05/2022, 1:15 PM EDT
US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on June 27, 2022. – Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying in her luggage vape cartridges with cannabis oil, which could carry a 10-year prison sentence. (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner was sentenced to a 9-year prison by a Russian court for carrying drugs. Judge Anna Sotnikova of the Khimki city court delivered this sentence after Grenier plead guilty to the charge, moreover, she also has to pay a fine of 1 million rubles or $16,560 along with serving her time.

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Following this, the judgment has been criticized by a lot of people, as many feel that the Phoenix Mercury player is being used as a political pawn in the rising tensions between the United States and Russia. This included WBO lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson, who came out with his thoughts on this situation.

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Shakur Stevenson criticizes Griner’s prison sentence

Stevenson took to Twitter to show his dissatisfaction with the sentence and called it a ‘disgrace’ and sent his condolences to her family.

Like Stevenson, many feel like this sentence was unfair including the president of the United States Joe Biden, who issued a statement demanding the release of the WNBA star.

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Why did Brittney Griner get arrested in Russia?

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During the off-season, Grinner plays basketball in Russia with UMMC Ekaterinburg. However, things would not go so well for the 2-time Olympic gold medalist in 20212, as she was detained at an airport in Moscow for carrying a vape cartridge containing cannabis oil, which is a felony in Russia. Moreover, this was around the time tensions between the US and Russia were rising due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 30: Brittney Griner and Brianna Turner #21 of the Phoenix Mercury. The fourth quarter of Game Two of the 2021 WNBA Playoffs semifinals. Michelob ULTRA Arena. September 30. 2021. Las Vegas.Nevada. The Mercury defeated the Aces 117-91.(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images).

Griner’s trial moved rapidly taking only a few months for the judge to serve a sentence of 9 years which is just short of the maximum 10-year sentence. It is reported that the United States and Russia are in talks about a prisoner swap that would cause the United States to release Russian arms trafficker Victor Bout in exchange for Griner and one other prisoner.

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What do you think of Griner’s arrest? Was it a fair or a harsh sentence? Let us know in the comments.

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Sahil Sood

313 articles

Sahil Sood is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication, and holds a keen interest in the 'sweet science'. His journey towards following boxing began when he first saw the highlights of Mike Tyson as a teenager, and then closely followed the rise of Floyd Mayweather.

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