Support continues to mount for WNBA star Brittney Griner as her detainment in Russia drags on.
South Carolina’s Dawn Staley and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer wore white long-sleeved T-shirts featuring Griner’s name and drawn image during their top-two showdown Sunday.
Staley also wore a “Free BG” cap, continuing her sartorial support of Griner, while Stanford players wore “We Are BG” patches on their jerseys.
Players and coaches also wrote letters to Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February. A “Dear BG” table was set up on the arena’s concourse where fans could also write letters to Griner. The table collected hundreds of messages, all written by hand.
Letter writing station for Brittney Griner set up at @StanfordWBB’s Maples Pavilion before today’s game. @dawnstaley and @taras_tweets will be wearing BG shirts for game; same shirts will be for sale on-line. pic.twitter.com/zhDu0LTDQv— M.A. Voepel (@MAVoepel) November 20, 2022
Letter writing station for Brittney Griner set up at @StanfordWBB’s Maples Pavilion before today’s game. @dawnstaley and @taras_tweets will be wearing BG shirts for game; same shirts will be for sale on-line. pic.twitter.com/zhDu0LTDQv
Before the game, a video message played on the big screen at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion in support of Griner.
The basketball community refuses to let Griner’s name go unmentioned, as seen again Sunday, and has taken care to show the Phoenix Mercury center that she is not alone as she enters yet another day of being wrongfully detained in Russia.
“Tara is leading this campaign on this particular campus and we both know Brittney,” Staley told the Associated Press. “She’s been part of our basketball family, and she’s in a fight for her life. I know there are other Americans that are wrongly detained and obviously we want them all to come home, but when you have a relationship and a friendship with someone, it’s personal.
“It’s a personal fight for us to bring her home, and every little bit counts. Every little bit, every letter. … If it was anyone’s loved one, loved ones, you would fight for them. I do think there’s a way maker out there that’s going to make the way for her to get home a lot sooner hopefully than a lot of people expect. I’m one that’s going to think optimistically and prayerfully that she gets home soon.”
Griner is serving a nine-year sentence in a Russian penal colony for the possession of cannabis oil. There have been talks between the U.S. State Department and Russia about bringing Griner home, although the U.S. has said that Russia refuses to “seriously negotiate.”