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Mercury hold public rally in support of Brittney Griner

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PHOENIX — They shared laughs, smiles, recollections. There additionally had been tears, fears, unease.

Via the vary of feelings, one widespread thread bonded them collectively: Brittney Griner.

Carrying “BG” shirts and holding indicators, a number of hundred followers gathered for a public rally in assist of Griner on Wednesday, hoping their sentiments would attain the WNBA participant 6,000 miles away in a Russian jail cell.

“It’s actually painful and exhausting to observe, and it’s actually taken a toll on lots of us,” mentioned Kelly Gedney of Shock, Arizona. “We will really feel the worry that she has. It’s scary to me that she’s in a cage when she is touring to her court docket instances. She’s been wrongfully detained and we’re going to do all the pieces we will to get her residence.”

Griner has spent the previous 4 months in a Russian jail and is presently on trial. She’s accused of possessing vape cartridges containing hashish oil when she arrived on the Moscow airport whereas returning to play for her Russian group, going through a jail time period of as much as 10 years if convicted.

"Bring Brittney Home"
Brittney Griner’s supporters held up indicators that learn “Deliver Brittney Dwelling”, urging the discharge of the WNBA star.
Getty Pictures
Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for 4 months on accusations that she possessed vape cartridges containing hashish oil.
AP
Ann Meyers Drysdale
Ann Meyers Drysdale, Vice President of the Phoenix Mercury spoke on the rally on July 6, 2022.
AP
Phoenix Mercury
Phoenix Mercury gamers bowed their heads in a prayer on the rally for his or her teammate, Brittney Griner.
AP

The WNBA and U.S. officers have labored to free Griner, with out success. Griner was in a position to send a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden, saying she feared spending the remainder of her life in jail whereas pushing the administration to not neglect about different American detainees.

President Biden called Griner’s wife, Cherelle, on Wednesday to inform her that he’s working to free her as quickly as doable.

Brittney Griner
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner wrote a letter to President Biden, urging his administration to convey her residence.
AP

“100 thirty-nine days have handed since my spouse has been in a position to converse to me, to our household and our pals,” Cherelle Griner mentioned throughout the rally, stopping to compose herself a number of occasions. “I’m pissed off my spouse will not be going to get justice. I do know you all are pissed off, too. That’s why you’re right here.”

The rally on the Footprint Middle, residence of the Phoenix Mercury and Suns, was half celebration of Griner’s accomplishments on and off the court docket with a name to motion.

The rally featured movies of Griner giving again to the neighborhood, dancers and a dramatic poem studying as lots of Mercury teammates sat collectively in chairs on the appropriate aspect of the court docket.

Phoenix Suns participant Torey Craig spoke, as did Mercury participant Brianna Turner.

“To know BG is to know such a sort spirit, a pleasant particular person, such a giver — I can go on and on about the kind of particular person she is,” mentioned Turner, who additionally was in a position to alternate letters with Griner. “We have to get her again residence. She deserves to be residence. She must be again together with her household and pals. We’re BG.”

Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton, the previous Phoenix mayor, additionally was available after pushing a decision calling for Griner’s speedy launch handed by the U.S. Home of Representatives earlier this week.

“Right this moment was essential, a present of unity, talking in a single voice that we anticipate our president, our administration to do what it takes to convey our fellow American again residence,” Stanton mentioned.