CHICAGO – The release of Brittney Griner by Russia on Thursday in a prisoner swap after being jailed for ten months has brought a number of reactions from around the sports world.
Many came from the Chicago Sky, the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the National Basketball Association, all of whom were outspoken in calling for the release of the star player for the Phoenix Mercury.
“Today is a monumental day, not only for BG, but for her family, friends, and support system,” said Sky head coach James Wade in a statement released on the team’s Twitter account. “On behalf of the Chicago Sky organization, words can’t express the happiness we feel to finally have BG home.
“We will continue to uplift BG as she transitions home, and send our heartfelt support to Paul Whelan and all other Americans who are detained.”
Allie Quigley, who has played for the Sky since 2013 and was a teammate with Griner in Russia with UMMC Ekaterinburg, also reacted on Twitter to the news of her release.
“Tears of joy today! And before Christmas? God is so good…welcome home BG!!!! We love you!,” said Quigley.
Sky guard Kahleah Copper wrote “YES BG” on her Twitter account after the news.
It was a big day for the WNBA as a whole since the league spent the 2022 season advocating for Griner’s release. League commissioner Cathy Engelbert released this statement this morning:
“There has not been a day over the past ten months where we all haven’t had Brittney Griner on our minds and in our hearts and that has now turned into a collective wave of joy and relief knowing that she will soon be reunited with her family, the WNBA player community, and her friends. BG has shown extraordinary courage and dignity in the face of enormous adversity. The WNBA is grateful beyond measure to the Biden Administration, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, and all those who played a role in bringing BG home today. Our hope is that Paul Whelan and every wrongfully detained American will be returned home safely and as soon as possible.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver had this statement on Griner’s release:
“Brittney has had to endure an unimaginable situation and we’re thrilled that she is on her way home to her family and friends. We thank the members of the NBA and WNBA community who never wavered in their efforts to raise awareness of Brittney’s unjust circumstances.”