After being imprisoned in Russia for ten months, WNBA star Brittney Griner revealed she will never go overseas to play basketball again.
In February of last year, the basketball player was stopped at a Moscow airport after officials found traces of marijuana in her luggage. This event snowballed into a ten-month detainment in a Russian prison, to which she pled guilty to drug smuggling. With the help of the United States federal government, she was able to safely return back to America on account of a prisoner swap. However, she still harbors fear about the experience.
“I’m never going overseas to play again unless I’m representing my country at the Olympics,” she revealed in her first press conference since the event. “If I make that team, that would be the only time I would leave the U.S. soil, and that’s just to represent the USA.”
When considering why many women basketball players go overseas to play the sport, this statement is very significant. “A lot of us go over there to make an income, to support our families, to support ourselves,” Griner explained.
“I’m hoping that our league continues to grow, and with as many people in here right now covering this, I hope you continue, like I said, to cover our league, bring exposure to us,” she continued. “If you haven’t watched before, we have a really good craft in ourselves in the WNBA, and it’s a shame that we have to leave our families for holidays.”
Brittney Griner admits that choosing to not play in other countries may create financial stress
Since many WNBA players rely on overseas leagues to make an income, Griner hopes to raise the wages of women’s sports in the United States so athletes don’t have to rely on overseas playing. When all is said and done, she is very aware that choosing to not play in other countries may hinder her financial security.
“As much as I would love to pay my light bill with the love of the game, I can’t. So I think that’s probably one of the biggest reasons people are still going overseas, and that’s why I was there,” Griner shared. “So hopefully that changes.”
The press conference comes weeks after Griner announced a memoir of her experience in a Russian prison is in the works. Set to be released next year, the book will detail the “stark” living conditions and the “terrifying aspects” of everyday life in a foreign prison.
At The Buzzer, or ATB is the place for those who love sports, life, family, community, and so much more. We are far from the run-of-the-mill 24/7 sports news websites. We not only bring you what’s happening in the world of sports in terms of trades and breaking news, but we also bring you the news that goes on behind the scenes, like big life moments, and so much more. So take a minute and read one of our articles, we promise you won't regret it.