Mercury hold public rally in support of Brittney Griner

Jul 6, 2022, 8:17 PM | Updated: 8:23 pm
Cherelle Griner, Brittney Griner's wife, talks prior to a rally for Phoenix Mercury WNBA basketball...

Cherelle Griner, Brittney Griner's wife, talks prior to a rally for Phoenix Mercury WNBA basketball player Griner Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Phoenix. Brittney has been detained in Russia for 133 days, charged in Russia for having vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) — They shared laughs, smiles, memories. There also were tears, fears, unease.

Through the range of emotions, one common thread bonded them together: Brittney Griner.

Wearing “BG” shirts and holding signs, several hundred fans gathered for a public rally in support of Griner on Wednesday, hoping their sentiments would reach the WNBA player 6,000 miles away in a Russian jail cell.

“It’s really painful and hard to watch, and it’s really taken a toll on a lot of us,” said Kelly Gedney of Surprise, Arizona. “We can feel the fear that she has. It’s scary to me that she’s in a cage when she is traveling to her court cases. She’s been wrongfully detained and we’re going to do everything we can to get her home.”

Griner has spent the past four months in a Russian prison and is currently on trial. She’s accused of possessing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil when she arrived at the Moscow airport while returning to play for her Russian team, facing a prison term of up to 10 years if convicted.

The WNBA and U.S. officials have worked to free Griner, without success. Griner was able to send a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden, saying she feared spending the rest of her life in prison while pushing the administration to not forget about other American detainees.

President Biden called Griner’s wife, Cherelle, on Wednesday to tell her that he is working to free her as soon as possible.

“One hundred thirty-nine days have passed since my wife has been able to speak to me, to our family and our friends,” Cherelle Griner said during the rally, stopping to compose herself several times. “I’m frustrated my wife is not going to get justice. I know you all are frustrated, too. That’s why you’re here.”

The rally at the Footprint Center, home of the Phoenix Mercury and Suns, was part celebration of Griner’s accomplishments on and off the court with a call to action.

The rally featured videos of Griner giving back to the community, dancers and a dramatic poem reading as many of Mercury teammates sat together in chairs on the right side of the court.

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

“To know BG is to know such a kind spirit, a nice person, such a giver — I can go on and on about the type of person she is,” said Turner, who also was able to exchange letters with Griner. “We need to get her back home. She deserves to be home. She needs to be back with her family and friends. We are BG.”

Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton, the former Phoenix mayor, also was on hand after pushing a resolution calling for Griner’s immediate release passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week.

“Today was important, a show of unity, speaking in one voice that we expect our president, our administration to do what it takes to bring our fellow American back home,” Stanton said.

___

To see more AP stories on Griner: https://apnews.com/hub/brittney-griner

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - The U.S. Army National Guard members stand outside the Army National Guard office during tra...
Associated Press

US Army misses recruiting goal; other services squeak by

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army fell about 15,000 soldiers — or 25% — short of its recruitment goal this year, officials confirmed Friday, despite a frantic effort to make up the widely expected gap in a year when all the military services struggled in a tight jobs market to find young people willing and fit […]
22 hours ago
A car is submerged in flood water in North Port, Fla., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Adriana...
Associated Press

After Ian, river flooding menaces Florida inland towns

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — As Hurricane Ian ravaged coastal towns in southwest Florida, residents in this quiet suburb thought they would be safe, having no beach and living outside areas under evacuation orders. But then the water kept flowing in. Since Ian’s passage, water levels have gone up significantly, turning roads into canals, reaching […]
22 hours ago
People protest asking for the restoration of electrical service after four days of blackout due to ...
Associated Press

Cubans protest in Havana for 2nd night over lack of power

HAVANA (AP) — Groups of Cubans protested Friday night in the streets of Havana for a second night, decrying delays in fully restoring electricity three days after Hurricane Ian knocked out power across the island. A foreign monitoring group reported that Cuba’s internet service shut down for the second time in two days, saying it […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Former President Jimmy Carter reacts as his wife Rosalynn Carter speaks during a reception t...
Associated Press

Jimmy Carter to celebrate 98 with family, friends, baseball

ATLANTA (AP) — Jimmy Carter, already the longest-living U.S. president in history, will celebrate his 98th birthday Saturday with family and friends in Plains, the tiny Georgia town where he and his wife, 95-year-old Rosalynn, were born in the years between World War I and the Great Depression. The 39th president’s latest milestone comes as […]
22 hours ago
The flame of a gas burner helps inflate a hot air balloon as part of a re-enactment of the first Al...
Associated Press

Annual hot air balloon festival draws global audience to US

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hundreds of hot air balloons are scheduled to lift off Saturday morning, marking the start of an annual fiesta that has drawn pilots and spectators from across the globe to New Mexico’s high desert for 50 years now. As one of the most photographed events in the world, the Albuquerque International […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: October 1, Las Vegas shooting kills 58

Today in History Today is Saturday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2022. There are 91 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire from a room at the Mandalay Bay casino hotel in Las Vegas on a crowd of 22,000 country music fans at a […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Mercury hold public rally in support of Brittney Griner