October 3, 2022

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As Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty in Russia, Biden Pressured to Help Free “State-Sponsored Hostage”

2 min read

Pressure is growing on the Biden administration to help free U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner from Russian detention as Griner pleaded guilty Thursday in a Russian court to what her supporters say are trumped-up charges of "large-scale drug possession" and "drug smuggling." Russian officials arrested the two-time U.S. Olympic basketball gold medalist and eight-time WNBA all-star in February at a Moscow airport after allegedly finding two vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. We speak with two reporters covering the case, Dave Zirin and Maya Goldberg-Safir, who say Griner is an unlawfully detained political prisoner. "We can’t separate this case from the Russian war in Ukraine or from the fact that she is a Black lesbian being held by a prominently anti-gay regime," says Goldberg-Safir. Zirin also criticizes the U.S. sports community, saying the lack of attention spotlighted on her case in part "reveals the tremendous and deep-rooted sexism and homophobia inside mainstream sports media."

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