Basketballer Brittney Griner says she’s “never going overseas to play again” following her imprisonment in Russia in 2022.
- detained in Russia in February 2022 accused of carrying hashish oil in luggage.
- had played basketball in Russia during the off-season since 2014.
- sentenced to nine years in prison and given a fine of one million rubles (US$16,300).
- returned to the United States in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout.
In a press conference late last week, the basketballer said she would not work overseas again.
“I can say, for me, I’m never going overseas to play again unless I’m representing my country at the Olympics.”
Brittney previously won Olympic Gold at the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Games.
She explained during her press conference that the low salaries paid to female basketball players compared to their male counterparts prompted them to work overseas.
“It’s a shame that we have to leave our families for holidays, I mean, your missing everything, being away. But, at the same time, as much as I would love to pay my light bill for the love of the game, I can’t.”
Brittney gave the press conference ahead of resuming her career with the Phoenix Mercury. She signed another one-year contract with her old team in February.
She told the assembled media she will continue to speak out for causes she supports, including the rights of detained Americans abroad and the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I’m really fortunate to have this platform that I have. And every chance that I get — if it’s wearing a shirt, saying their names, any interview that I have — that’s just bringing awareness to everybody that doesn’t have the platform and the followers and the exposure. I’m trying to help out in any way that I can.”
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