Brittney Griner situation deters WNBA players from Russia, citing safety

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Brittney Griner’s arrest and detention earlier this 12 months have made WNBA players keep away from Russia.

WNBA stars have gone over to Russia to play for groups owned by oligarchs for greater salaries. But the Griner situation will hold players away from the nation because the WNBA heads for its personal offseason. Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones and Courtney Vandersloot are going elsewhere this winter.

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Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot drives to the basket as Sun guard Natisha Hiedeman defends through the WNBA basketball playoffs, Sept. 6, 2022, in Uncasville, Connecticut.
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

“Honestly my time in Russia has been fantastic, however particularly with BG nonetheless wrongfully detained there, no one’s going to go there till she’s house,” Stewart mentioned. “I believe that, you realize, now, folks need to go abroad and if the cash just isn’t a lot completely different, they need to be in a greater place.”

Stewart will go to Turkey to play for Fenerbahçe whereas Vandersloot will play in Hungary.

“I’m Hungarian. I assumed it could be particular since I have never performed there since I bought the citizenship,” she mentioned, including there must be a number of adjustments earlier than she thought-about enjoying in Russia once more.

ACES CAPTURE 1ST WNBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEHIND CHELSEA GRAY’S 20 POINTS

Storm forward Breanna Stewart reacts after hitting a three-point basket during the WNBA playoff semifinal against the Las Vegas Aces, Sept.  6, 2022, in Seattle.

Storm ahead Breanna Stewart reacts after hitting a three-point basket through the WNBA playoff semifinal towards the Las Vegas Aces, Sept. 6, 2022, in Seattle.
(AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

“The factor about it’s, we have been handled so properly by our membership and made such robust relationships with these folks, I’d by no means shut the door on that,” she mentioned. “The entire situation with BG makes it actually onerous to suppose that it is secure for anybody to return there proper now.”

The WNBA has additionally been attempting to make staying house a greater answer for players.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert mentioned on the WNBA Finals that prime players may make as much as $700,000 this 12 months between base wage, advertising agreements and award bonuses. About a dozen have determined to take league advertising agreements this offseason.

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Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, Aug.  4, 2022.

Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom after a listening to, in Khimki, simply exterior Moscow, Russia, Aug. 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

Griner was sentenced to 9 years in jail for bringing vape cartridges containing hashish oil by way of a Moscow airport. The Biden administration has been negotiating with Russian officers to convey her and Paul Whelan, one other detained American, house.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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