Warriors star Stephen Curry has been an avid supporter of bringing Brittney Griner back to the United States after the WNBA star was held in Russian custody since February.
On Thursday, it was announced that a prisoner swap involving international arms dealer Viktor Bout between the U.S. and Russia would bring Griner home. The four-time NBA champion opened his speech at the 2022 Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year Awards by expressing his thoughts on Griner’s return home.
“We are glad she’s home, we’re glad she’s reunited with her family,” Curry said. “It’s a constant reminder for everybody continuing to use their platforms to speak on issues that are meaningful and can move the needle. Thank you to President Biden’s administration for being a part of that fight. But, it’s also a reminder that we all need to stay engaged in the fight to protect American citizens at home and abroad who are wrongfully detained, and we can continue to be engaged in that fight. BG, we love you. We thank you for your sacrifice and your continued perseverance and patience to get through this process, and hope you enjoy reuniting with your family. We are always with you, BG.”
Curry reiterated the same sentiments ahead of the show while speaking on the red carpet.
“It is amazing that Brittney’s home,” Curry said. “It was obviously too long of a process to get her back from being unlawfully and unrightly detained in Russia. I think one, shout out to President [Joe] Biden and his administration and all the athletes, activists, people who used their platform to speak on her behalf. I know there’s a conversation now there’s hopefully leading to protecting and speaking on other American citizens that are still unlawfully detained overseas, and knowing that there’s still a lot of families that are in a similar predicament. This is great news that Brittney is home, excited to see her get back with her family.”
Griner was detained in a Russian airport in February after officials claimed that she had hashish oil in her luggage. In July, she pleaded guilty, but stated that she did not intend to break the law. On August 4, she was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony after a monthlong trial. After a ten-month ordeal, Griner is finally coming home.