After returning home to the United States, WNBA star Brittney Griner made a special appearance during this year’s NAACP Image Awards.
In December, the Phoenix Mercury player was released from a Russian prison after spending 10 months behind bars. Last year, she was arrested at a Moscow airport after security found traces of hash oil in her luggage, a substance that is illegal in the country.
Although she was found guilty of drug smuggling, President Joe Biden was able to negotiate a prisoner swap: notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner.
“After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back
in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along,” Biden announced on the 8th of December when the star athlete was making her way overseas.
“This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time. We never stopped pushing for her release.” Once Griner was back on American soil, her wife Cherelle took to Instagram and personally thanked the public servants who made it possible for Brittney to be brought back.
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“To care for another, a stranger to some, a friend to some— is humanity in its purest form! As BG and I start our journey to heal our minds, bodies, and spirits— I wanted to personally say thank you to some of the hands, seen and unseen, that helped make it possible for me to see my wife again!” she wrote.
Brittney Griner thoughtfully thanks her supporters
The basketball player has been adjusting well to life back in the States and even signed a one-year contract with the Mercury upon her arrival. Most recently, she was seen on Saturday night alongside her wife, making an appearance at the NAACP Image Awards.
“As we gather here tonight, In the spirit of overcoming adversity, I want to take this moment to recognize someone who has done just that,” Queen Latifah said before introducing Griner.
As the WNBA star made her way onto the stage of the 54th annual awards, she received a standing ovation. “Thank you for that beautiful applause,” Cherelle shared after she and her wife made it to center stage. “We are just truly so thankful to all the people — many of whom are Black women and Black-led organizations — who fought so hard to bring BG home tonight.”
“I want to thank everyone. And let’s keep fighting to bring home every American still detained overseas,” Griner added in her own words. “Thank you.”
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