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Brittney Griner Tears Up, Says Banning Transgender Athletes is a Crime

April 28, 2023

Brittney Griner took to the mic for the first time since being detained in Russia for 10 months, a protracted international negotiation, and finally returning home to her wife and team in the U.S. The press conference was intended to mark the Phoenix Suns’ partnership with the Bring Our Families Home campaign, an organization dedicated to bringing home American detainees like Griner.

Still, the media had many other questions for Griner.

Griner touched on the pay gap between the NBA and the WNBA, a large reason why she went to Russia to play overseas in the first place.

“I’ll say this, the whole reason a lot of us go over[seas] is the pay gap,” Griner said. “A lot of us go over there to make an income, to support our families, to support ourselves. As much as I’d love to pay my light bill for a love of the game, I can’t.” She encouraged the media to pay more attention to women’s sports.

Griner also stated that she would not play overseas again unless it were in the Olympics, where she has already earned two gold medals.

“If I make that team, that would be the only time I would leave the U.S. soil, and that’s just to represent the U.S.A.,” Griner said.

The athlete, who previously said she was against trans athlete bans, said upon her release that she  “definitely will be speaking up against that legislation and that [trans ban] law expected to be passed.” Yesterday Griner (a cisgender lesbian) continued to speak out in support of transgender athletes in the U.S., many of whom are under attack and being banned from sports as young as kindergarten.

“Everyone deserves the right to play,” said Griner. “I think it’s a crime to separate someone for any reason.”

She stated that these new laws were a “threat” to trans people as they prevent trans people from “being who they truly are.”

Griner also resigned a new 1-year contract with the Phoenix Suns in February 2023. The baller will be writing a memoir about her experience in Russia, most of which was hidden from the public because of Russia’s state-controlled media.

“I’m no stranger to hard times,” she said at the conference. “You’re going to be faced with adversities throughout your life — this was a pretty big one. You find a way to just grind it out. You just put your head down and keep going, just keep moving forward. You can never stand still, and that was my theme. Just never be still. Never get too focused on the now, just look forward to what’s to come.”

(Additional sourcing came via NPR, them, and The Advocate.)

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