Brittney Griner has spoken, and her return to the WNBA is set.
One week out from her return to the United States and days since setting foot on the practice court again, Griner made her first post on social media since her imprisonment in February, confirming her intentions of returning to play in the WNBA’s 2023 season.
“I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon,” she wrote in a heartfelt statement on Instagram.
In the post, Griner also expressed her gratitude for the multitude of people who helped to get her back home, from family to colleagues to politicians and grassroots activists whose tireless advocacy over the past 10 months helped free her in time for the holidays.
As the national media spotlight remains on Griner’s story, she also took care to use this moment to highlight that there is still more to do for others who remain behind bars, sharing a post with resources to support imprisoned American Paul Whelan whose case has often been compared with BG’s.
“I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.”
Following the 2022 WNBA season, in which Griner’s unjust detainment was a focal point of the league’s activism, it’s likely that freeing political prisoners will remain a central issue for players who feel emboldened by the power of their collective platform.
Even before BG was imprisoned in Russia, many WNBA players have been vocal advocates on issues of criminal justice reform and wrongful convictions. Famously in 2020, superstar player Maya Moore stepped away from basketball to lead a successful campaign to overturn the conviction of Jonathan Irons.
Regardless of Phoenix’s success going into next season, Brittney Griner can certainly expect an outpouring of support from fans going forward whether the Mercury are playing a home game or not. BG’s freedom and the power of the community around her is something we can all look forward to cheering for in 2023.