LeBron James on Brittney Griner: "How could she feel like America has her back?"
In an upcoming episode of The Shop, James offers his thoughts on the WNBA star's detention.
In the weeks of WNBA star Brittney Griner’s continued imprisonment in Russia, many of her supporters have brought up LeBron James as a comparison point, insisting that the U.S. would have found a way to get him home. Now, James himself is speaking up about the issue.
In a trailer for a new episode of his HBO show The Shop, James appears to criticize what he sees as an inadequate response from the government in attempting to bring back the Phoenix Mercury center, who has been detained since February.
“Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” James says in the brief clip. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even wanna go back to America?’”
Griner was arrested at an airport near Moscow earlier this year for allegedly bringing hashish oil, via vape cartridges, into Russia. Last week, Griner, who is facing a potential 10 years in Russian prison, pleaded guilty to the charge in a hearing for her trial, a move that some say is may help expedite the process of getting her home.
"The negotiation for her immediate release regardless of the legal proceedings should remain a top priority, and we expect @POTUS and @VP to do everything in their power, right now, to get a deal done to bring her home,” Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, wrote on Twitter in June.
Colas has referred to her detention as a political tool for Russia, and in May, the U.S. government officially classified Griner as being “wrongfully detained,” a designation that indicates the U.S. will actively negotiate for her release.
Earlier this month, Griner sent a handwritten letter to President Biden, expressing her fear over her detention. "(As) I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments,” she wrote, “I'm terrified I might be here forever.”