A’ja Wilson on Brittney Griner court appearance: ‘It made my stomach turn’

(Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)

Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson spoke Monday about seeing video and photos of Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner in a Moscow court earlier in the day.

“It was tough. I hated seeing it,” said Wilson. “It made my stomach turn. BG is our sister. She’s our sister and I can’t imagine what she’s going through. I pray every single day that the people that are in high ups are doing what they need to do to get her home because it’s unacceptable.”

The Mercury star has been detained since February, when she was arrested in a Moscow airport for the alleged possession of cannabis oil.

On Monday, a Russian court set a start date for her trial of July 1. Her detention was also extended for another six months pending the outcome of the case.

Griner’s lawyer Alexander Boikov told the New York Times that he expects the trial to take up to two months. He added that Griner is doing well with “no complaints” about her treatment in the detention center.

Still, her appearance in court Monday deeply affected Wilson and others around the WNBA.

“To see her like that, I can’t even put it into words because we talk about how great she is as a player, but that’s a person,” Wilson continued, visibly growing emotional. “That’s someone’s wife, and she can’t communicate with her.

“I just pray every day that she comes home and that she’s just healthy because it’s so much deeper than the physical. It’s the mental, it’s the emotional, and anyone that knows BG knows her spirit is probably the best thing about her. Yes, she can put the ball in the hoop, but her spirit – I hate to see that stripped away from her. So I pray. I pray so much for BG and I hope we can bring her home, but that was just so hard to look at today.”

Also on Monday, Phoenix Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard offered her thoughts on the recent developments.

“At least we get to see an image of her,” she said. “Hopefully with this trial happening quickly that some things will change and that President Biden will take the steps to ensure she comes home.”

In a Washington Post article, Rep. Colin Allred (D-Tex.) said people should prepare for the trial to be a “sham” and added that Griner is a “political prisoner.”

“This will all mean nothing, and I will keep working closely with the Biden Administration to bring her, and all Americans detained abroad, home safely,” Allred said in a statement to The Washington Post.

According to the Associated Press, Maria Yarmush, an international civil affairs lawyer, told Kremlin-funded TV channel RT that Griner would have to be convicted and sentenced in order to be involved in a prisoner swap. From there she could apply for a presidential pardon and be a part of a swap.