PHOENIX MERCURY

Phoenix Mercury to host ‘Bring BG Home’ rally in support of Brittney Griner

Jul 4, 2022, 7:02 AM | Updated: 2:06 pm

"We Are BG 42" is displayed on the exterior of Footprint Center before the WNBA game between the Ph...

"We Are BG 42" is displayed on the exterior of Footprint Center before the WNBA game between the Phoenix Mercury and the Minnesota Lynx on June 21, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury was detained on February 17, at a Moscow-area airport after cannabis oil was allegedly found in her luggage. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Mercury and Congressman Greg Stanton of Arizona will host a rally in support of Brittney Griner, who remains detained in Russia, at Footprint Center on Wednesday.

The event will advocate for Griner’s safe return home and call on government and non-government agencies to do everything they can to bring an end to her detention.

Griner’s wife, Cherelle, will be a featured speaker at the rally.

The 31-year-old was arrested at an airport on cannabis possession charges Feb. 17, and her sentence was extended by six months last Monday. She was traveling to play for a Russian basketball team during the WNBA offseason.

Rep. Stanton introduced a resolution calling on the Russian government to release Griner, which passed in the House last week. Griner is considered to be wrongfully detained in Russia by the U.S. Department of State.

The rally is free to attend, and the Mercury encourage those interested to bring signs, make their voices heard and sign petitions urging lawmakers to prioritize getting Griner home.

The Mercury will also be collecting shoes as part of Griner’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive in partnership with Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Griner was drafted by Phoenix in 2013 and has played nine seasons for the Mercury. She is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist, representing the United States.

The rally will begin at 5 p.m.

Griner went on trial Friday, 4.5 months after her arrest on charges of possessing cannabis oil while returning to play for a Russian team, in a case that unfolded amid tense relations between Moscow and Washington.

Her case comes at an extraordinarily low point in Moscow-Washington relations. Griner was arrested less than a week before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, which aggravated already high tensions between the two countries. The U.S. then imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow, and Russia denounced the U.S. for sending weapons to Ukraine.

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