USWNT star Megan Rapinoe and four-time NBA champion Steph Curry were among the high-profile names to raise awareness for Griner’s case at the event which aims to celebrate athletic achievement.
“As we hope for the best, we urge the entire global sports community to continue to stay energized on his behalf,” Curry said, when joined by WNBA stars Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins. -Smith to solve the problem.
“She is one of us, the team of athletes in this room tonight and all over the world. A team that has nothing to do with politics or world strife.”
Griner was arrested in February at a Moscow airport after Russian officials said they found cannabis oil in her luggage. The basketball star, who plays in Russia during the WNBA offseason, has since been detained for drug trafficking.
The 31-year-old, who the US State Department classified as wrongfully detained, pleaded guilty to drug charges and faces up to 10 years in prison.
Supporters of the Phoenix Mercury player have called for her release over fears she will be used as a political pawn amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Rapinoe, who won an award for her performances for the USWNT, used her acceptance speech to highlight what the sports community can do to help.
“I honestly think what we witnessed tonight is the importance of sport and all that we can bring and all that we can do in the world with our collective power,” she said. declared.
“Every time we say his name, it puts pressure on everyone, it puts pressure on the administration, it puts pressure on Russia. The most striking thing is that BG [Brittney Griner] is not here. BG deserves to be free.
“We can support her more and let her know that we love her so much.”
Billie Jean King, one of America’s most famous tennis players, also mentioned Griner’s case during the awards show, saying, “First, bring BG home. Okay, I have to do it.”
Last week, Griner’s defense team submitted to the Russian court a letter from a US medical center issuing a license in Arizona in 2020 for the use of medical cannabis for Griner to treat his chronic pain from injuries. sports.
The trial has now been postponed until July 26 after his lawyers said they needed more time to prepare for the next steps.
CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe, Anna Chernova, Rosa Flores, Jacqueline Rose and Alexa Miranda contributed to this report.
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