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Brittney Griner Breaks Silence After Returning From Russia

AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

WNBA player Brittney Griner finally broke her silence after being brought home from Russia in exchange for Viktor "Merchant of Death" Bout in an Instagram post on Friday. 


"It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn," Griner said. "I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help."

Griner — whose swap came after the Biden administration apparently botched its first attempt at a deal with the Kremlin and touted details of the not yet agreed to plan earlier in 2022 — thanked multiple people in her post:

I am grateful to each person who advocated for me, especially my wife, Cherelle Griner, my family, Lindsay Kagawa Colas and Casey Wasserman and my whole team at Wasserman, Vince Kozar and the Phoenix Mercury, the players of the WNBA, and my entire WNBA family, Terri Jackson and the WNBPA staff, my Russian legal team Maria Blagovolina and Alex Boykov, the leaders, activists, and grassroots organizations, Gov. Richardson and Mickey Bergman of the Richardson Center, the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, Roger Carstens and the SPEHA team, and of course, a special thank you to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken and the entire Biden-Harris Administration.

A key criticism of the prisoner swap for Griner was the fact that another American, former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, was not freed as part of the deal that saw a terror-supporting, anti-aircraft missile-trafficking Russian walk free. Griner claimed in her post to "know" Biden is "committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too." Saying that "every family deserves to be whole," Griner pledged she'd "encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home."


Griner also thanked the Department of Defense's Post Isolation Support Activities (PISA) staff and those who provided her medical care at the Fort Sam Houston Army Base. "I appreciate the time and care to make sure I was okay and equipped with the tools for this new journey."

As for her career, Griner said she intends to return to her teammates on the Phoenix Mercury and play "this season" and looks forward to "Being able to say 'thank you' to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon."

Griner's appreciation for the United States is a change of tone for the WNBA player who said in 2020, "I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season" in order to take "a stand." She further said that if the Star Spangled Banner did play, she was "not going to be out there for the national anthem."

It's probably wishful thinking, but perhaps when she returns to the court she'll have and show a little more appreciation for the American flag and the freedom it represents.

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