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WNBA player Brittney Griner shocked by claims she’s unpatriotic: ‘I’m blown away’

via The View
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WNBA star Brittney Griner responded to critics who called her unpatriotic or un-American for kneeling during the national anthem prior to her detention in Russia.

She noted her father’s military service and her own intention to serve, saying expressing protest through kneeling is an American right.

Griner said she was “blown away” by the accusation given she was unable to protest while imprisoned in Russia under harsh conditions.

“Everyone has made a mistake before,” Griner said. “The unpatriotic thing, that blows my mind, because, one, my dad fought for this country, ’68, ’69, Vietnam Marines and law enforcement for 30 plus years. Dad was my hero. I wanted to be a cop. I didn’t want to play basketball growing up, I wanted to be a cop and go into the military, actually. And doesn’t it make me more American that I’m demonstrating a protest? That’s my right as an American, so for me to be called un-American, I was blown away at that.”

She detailed the poor living standards at her penal colony. After her release in a prisoner exchange, Griner chose to stand for the anthem at her first game back but affirmed others’ right to protest, saying her experience made the anthem and flag mean more to her while also supporting all Americans’ right to free speech.

“The mattress had a huge bloodstain, and they give you these thin two sheets, so you’re basically laying on bars,” Griner said.

“From the middle of my shin to my feet stuck through the bars, which in prison, you really don’t want to stick your leg and arm through bars because someone could go up and grab it, break it, twist it and that’s what was going through my mind,” Griner said.

She defended demonstrating through kneeling as a legitimate form of protest.

“You have the right to protest, the right to able to speak out, question, challenge and do all these things,” Griner said. “What I went through and everything, it just means a little bit more to me now. So I want to be able to stand. I was literally in a cage [in Russia] and could not stand the way I wanted to.”

“Just being able to hear my national anthem, see my flag, I definitely want to stand. Now everybody that will not stand or not come out, I totally support them 100%. That’s our right as an American in this great country,” she added.

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