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WNBA’s Brittney Griner: ‘The Unpatriotic Thing Blows My Mind’

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Blown away

WNBA athlete Brittney Griner said she’s “blown away” at critics labeling her as un-American for taking a knee during the national anthem. “The View” co-host Joy Behar inquired Griner’s reaction to individuals who thought she behaved recklessly in Russia and should not receive assistance from America because she had taken a knee during the national anthem.

A mistake

“Everyone has made a mistake before,” Griner said, responding to people who deemed her “careless.” “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.”

Following her arrest

Griner highlighted that in many parts of the world, citizens are unable to express dissent through protests. Following her arrest in a Russian airport in February 2022 for carrying cannabis oil-filled vape cartridges, Griner was released in December 2022 as part of a swap involving Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was imprisoned at that time.

Protesting in Russia

The co-hosts concurred and pointed out the restrictions on protesting in Russia. Griner was transferred to a penal colony located approximately 300 miles outside Moscow upon receiving a nine-year prison term.

Living conditions

In her initial interview post-release on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in early May, the basketball star shared insights into her experiences in the penal colony, detailing the living conditions she endured.


“The mattress had a huge bloodstain, and they give you these thin two sheets, so you’re basically laying on bars,” Griner remarked about her initial confinement at Correctional Colony No. 1.”

Through the bars

“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.

Chose to stand

Following her release, Griner chose to stand for the national anthem during her first game back in 2023.

Right to protest

“You have the right to protest, the right to able to speak out, question, challenge and do all these things,” Griner expressed during that moment.

In a cage

She added, “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.”

National anthem

“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 continued.

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This article was originally published at Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak,...