LeBron James: I ‘wasn’t knocking our beautiful country’ with Griner remarks
Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James on Tuesday night clarified remarks he made on the ongoing detainment of WNBA star Brittney Griner, saying he wasn’t trying to knock “our beautiful country.”
“My comments on ‘The Shop’ regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country,” the NBA superstar wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
“I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome,” he added.
James, a four-time NBA champion, tweeted the statement after facing backlash for remarks he made in his television show “The Shop: Uninterrupted” in which he suggested that Griner, 31, had every right to be upset that the U.S. government has not secured her release from Russia.
“Now, how could she feel like America has her back?” James said in the 30-second episode trailer released Tuesday, adding, “I will be feeling like, do I even want to go back to America?”
Griner, a seven-time WNBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist, has been held by Russian authorities since February on charges of possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport.
Griner, who plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, pleaded guilty to the drug possession charges on Thursday and could face up to 10 years in prison.
Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard mentioned James as a point of comparison while discussing the situation with Griner.
“If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right?” Nygaard asked reporters in attendance. “It’s a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a Black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those things. We know it, and so that’s what hurts a little more.”
Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) is reportedly planning to travel to Russia in the coming weeks to meet with Moscow officials discuss Griner’s return to U.S. soil.
President Biden and Vice President Harris recently spoke with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, and Harris said in a CBS “Face The Nation” interview that bringing Griner home remains on their “highest priority list.”