A petition began online for the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner after a U.S. Marine was released from Russian imprisonment this week.
According to NBC News, the U.S. State Department traded U.S. Marine Trevor Reed for Russian drug trafficker Konstantin Yaroshenko on Wednesday, sparking outrage from fans as they organized the petition for the two-time Olympic champion.
The U.S.-Russia exchange regarding Reed was met with mixed reactions on social media, including Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, who took to Instagram on Thursday and shared her thoughts on the news.
“I do not personally know them, but I do the pain of having your loved one detained in a foreign country,” Cherelle said. “That level of pain is constant and can only be remediated by a safe return home. For the Reed family, that day is today.”
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Financial Times reporter Max Seddon shared a video on Twitter, capturing the marine as he departed an aircraft after arriving on U.S. soil. While many were pleased to learn of Reed’s release, one user suggested that Griner’s release should be met with the same efforts.
— Mudpuppy🌻🇺🇦 (@mudpuppy_16) April 27, 2022
Another user said, “Ok. What about Brittney Griner, tho?”
Ok. What about Brittney Griner, tho? https://t.co/XezqLl4rkm
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) April 27, 2022
“Brittney Griner couldn’t get in on the release???” a third user questioned.
Brittney Griner couldn’t get in on the release??? https://t.co/yksJ5JAcgr
— Edwin🇸🇻/RIP Mamá Lydia (@squid_win) April 27, 2022
As News Onyx previously reported, Griner was detained by customs officers at the Sheremetyevo International Airport on Feb. 17 after they allegedly found cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.
United States consular officials were granted access to the Phoenix Mercury player on March 23, saying that she was doing “well” during their visit.
“Within the past couple of hours, an official from our embassy has been granted consular access to Brittney Griner. We were able to check on her condition [and] we will continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Edward “Ned” Price said in a statement. “Our official found Brittney to be in good condition and will continue to do everything we can to see to it that she is treated fairly throughout this ordeal.”
Fans and advocates have called out the Biden administration for not including Griner in the exchange with Reed. Meanwhile, the petition on Change.org has garnered more than 95,000 signers urging the government to take action and free the Griner, who is part of the LGBTQ community.
Tamryn Spruill, who started the campaign, highlighted the racial differences between Black and white women regarding crime and missing person cases.
“Black women, from missing persons cases to victims of crime, are not treated with the same urgency as white women and other groups,” she said in a written statement on the website. ”We demand that lawmakers hold Griner in the same regard as they would any other sports icon. If it was Tom Brady being held captive, as New York Magazine posited, would there be radio silence across sports media?”
She said the petition “was created after careful thought, inquiry and discussion out of an abundance of caution, and with the singular interest in calling on U.S. officials to keep Brittney Griner a top priority in all of their decision-making during this grim, worldwide catastrophe.”