Brittney Griner reportedly facing racism, homophobia and grueling work days in Russian prison
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WNBA star Brittney Griner has started her Russian sentence after a judge ruled she faces nine years behind bars. The decision came in August after the athlete was caught traveling with cannabis oil in her luggage earlier this year. Although the substance was prescribed by a doctor in America to treat chronic pain, it is illegal in some overseas countries.
In a report today (Nov. 28), TMZ said the Phoenix Mercury ballplayer will face conditions including "homophobia, racism and 16-hour workdays." Griner was transported to Mordovia earlier this month, and The Nation sportswriter Dave Zirin claims prisoners in the colony are rarely treated with human decency. The journalist added that even medical resources are not easy to come by and the prisoners have to do chores like sewing uniforms for the guards. Zirin also spoke to CNN and said Mordovia is known as "the land of prisons because it contains two dozen supermax prisons." He noted that the surrounding area is often "swampy" and "icy."
Sources say it's currently unknown if Griner will be getting a bed to accommodate her 6-foot-8 height. Nadya Tolokonnikova, a musician and activist who previously spent two years in a Mordovia prison, spoke about her time in prison after her arrest in 2012. She revealed that "beatings and torture" were frequent. Those close to the Olympian have continued to update the public about Griner's time in prison. "Brittney is doing as well as could be expected," her reps said earlier this month. "Despite the fact that she is alone and now approaching her ninth month in prison away from her loved ones, she is trying to stay strong," they continued.
“Our sister, Brittney Griner, is an American who is in danger in Russia. She needs the love and support of her country, the sports federations and every athlete on the planet to be able to be released and go back to her family. #WeAreBG #BringBGHome #BringThemHome,” the WNBPA tweeted today in support of the athlete. In August, President Biden issued a statement saying, “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner was sentenced to prison, which is another reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongly holding Brittney. This is unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately so that she can be with her wife, family, friends and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and will do everything possible to get Brittney and Paul Whelan safely home as quickly as possible."
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