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WSLC joins AFL-CIO, WNBPA in calling for Griner’s release

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 7, 2022) — On Feb. 17, WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner was arrested by Russian authorities at a Moscow airport. Since her arrest more than three months ago, the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) has been strongly advocating for her release.

Griner, 31, a Houston native who is a center for the Phoenix Mercury, was detained by Russian Federal Customs Service agents at Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow after vape canisters with cannabis oil allegedly were found in her luggage. She plays for a Russian team during the WNBA’s offseason. The Associated Press reports today that Griner appeared in Russian court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to drug possession during her trial in Moscow but said she had no intention of committing a crime.

In a handwritten letter delivered to President Biden on July 4, Griner wrote, “I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler has joined with the WNBPA and many others, including Washington State Labor Council Secretary Treasurer April Sims, in calling for Griner’s immediate release.

“Our union sister has been captive in Russia for 140 days too long,” Sims said. “We must continue to see her humanity, Brittney Griner is a person, and not a bargaining chip for those in positions of power. We also must remember that she used her voice on July 4 to focus on freedom for herself and other U.S. detainees in Russia. The Washington State Labor Council joins the WNBPA, the national AFL-CIO and countless others in calling for Brittney Griner’s release.”

All are urged to join the WeAreBG campaign to bring Brittney Griner home. Sign the petition urging her release, follow @TheWNBPA, and share #WeAreBG content.



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