“This ain’t even just an NBA or WNBA thing,” Paul said. “I think everybody just wants her home. [Griner] is a huge part of the community here. We all support her [and] just want to try to get her home as soon as possible.”
The Suns joined Paul in showing their support for Griner, adding an on-court decal ahead of Tuesday’s Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks. This decal will remain on the Footprint Center’s court for the entirety of the NBA playoffs and can also be seen throughout the WNBA, as all 12 teams have adopted the decal as well.
Today marks 84 days since Brittney Griner was “wrongfully detained” on February 17 after the Russian Customs Service found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. News of Griner’s detainment was only released on Mar. 5, over two weeks after her official detainment, and just over a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. Griner’s next hearing is on May 19 and she faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison if convicted of large-scale transportation of drugs.
Considering the rising political tensions between the U.S. and Russia, Russia’s strong anti-drug laws, and Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, Griner’s family and legal team have sparsely made comments publicly on her situation, as they balance raising national awareness of her plight and not letting her become a political tool for Russia to hold over the U.S.
Additionally, the U.S. State Department cannot release information regarding this case without Griner’s explicit permission, as Griner has not signed a Privacy Act Waiver. The 1974 Privacy Act prohibits the State Department from releasing personal information about any American citizen arrested or otherwise detained overseas without their express written consent.