LeBron James on Brittney Griner: ‘How can she feel like America has her back?’
LeBron James is asking how Brittney Griner can feel like America “has her back” as she sits in a Russian prison.
In an episode trailer for his television show “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” the NBA superstar suggested Griner has a right to be angry that the United States has not secured her release.
“Now, how could she feel like America has her back?” James said in the 30-second snippet released Tuesday that features Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford.
Griner, a seven-time WNBA All-Star and center for the Phoenix Mercury, has been detained by Russian authorities since February after being accused of having vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport.
Griner is currently on trial in a Russian court for the charges against her. If convicted, she faces a possible 10-year prison sentence.
James’s remarks come a week after Griner’s head coach, Vanessa Nygaard, asked if James would be in detainment as long as Griner has been.
“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.”
ESPN reported that former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) is planning to travel to Russia in the coming weeks to meet with Moscow officials in talks aimed at bringing Griner back to U.S. soil.
Both President Biden and Vice President Harris recently talked with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, to offer their support to the family, with Harris saying in a CBS “Face the Nation” interview that bringing Griner home remains on “highest priority list”.
“[W]e take very seriously and we’ve been very clear, Brittney Griner, and there are sadly other Americans who are being unlawfully detained around the world, and it is on our highest priority list to bring those folks home,” Harris told CBS News’ chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa.
“I can’t talk to you about the details of what’s happening behind the scenes, but I can tell you that it is one of our highest priorities to bring these Americans home,” Harris added.