The decade's most triggering comedy
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving took to the microphone at midcourt before his team’s season opener to call on President Joe Biden to do his job and find a way to bring WNBA star Brittney Griner home.
Irving shared the bold challenge as he addressed the Barclays Center crowd on Wednesday night. Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for bringing cannabis into the country, which she said was “an honest mistake.”
“I appreciate us being able to share this floor together, all of us as brothers. But the big picture that’s going on in the world is free our sister, Brittney Griner. Please,” Irving shared with the home crowd.
“POTUS, do your job. Everybody do your job. Please bring our sister home. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs to the best of our ability if we didn’t stand for what we believe in,” he added.
Kyrie Irving's opening night message to Nets' fans end with a plea to free Brittney Griner.
"POTUS do your job, everybody do your job.”
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) October 19, 2022
Griner, the Phoenix Mercury star center, was arrested in February for possessing vape canisters in her luggage with cannabis oil at a Moscow airport.
Her arrest came four days before Russia invaded Ukraine. She has now been held for more than seven months. The 6-foot, 9-inch center was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment in August, just shy of the 10-year maximum sentence.
“I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here,” Griner said ahead of her verdict. “I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that that is far from this courtroom.”
The WNBA honored Griner on her 32nd birthday on Tuesday.
“Happy Birthday Brittney Griner, we will not forget about you and we will not stop fighting for you. The W won’t be the same until you’re home,” the league’s Twitter account posted.
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 18, 2022
Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry also offered his support for Griner’s release during his team’s championship ring ceremony on Tuesday.
“We want to continue to use our platform and the opportunity to shout out a very special member of the basketball community,” Curry told the crowd before its season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Griner’s case has been appealed in Russia. The appeal date has been set for a Moscow region court on October 25.
During an interview earlier in October, Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, said they were hoping for a prisoner swap, fearing that Brittney could be sent to a labor camp if the plans were unsuccessful.
“Your life matters to me,” Cherelle said she told Brittney. “I want to get you back home, and I’m going to continue to pray every day that the decision-makers in this situation will have mercy, and will sit down and they will, too, see your life matters and do whatever they can to agree on terms.”