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Sunday, June 23, 2024

WNBA Player Learns Gratitude for America in Russian Prison

'Hearing the national anthem, it definitely hit different...'

(Ezekiel Loseke, Headline USA) Brittney Griner, the WNBA player who protested the playing of America’s national anthem before games in 2020, expressed gratitude for America and The Star Spangled Banner, after her first post-prison game on Friday.

Griner was convicted of drug possession and sentenced to 9 years in a Russian jail.  The Biden administration exchanged Griner’s return for the release of a notorious Russian arms dealer  in December.

In 2020, before her imprisonment, Griner openly disrespected the American flag and The Star Spangled Banner, according to the Arizona Republic.

“I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season,” she said, expressing solidarity with Colin Kaepernick’s anti-American protests.

In 2020, Griner was so upset by America’s national anthem, she refused to be on the court as it played.

“I’m going to protest regardless,” she said, explaining that the actions of the league would not force her to respect the symbol of her country. “I’m not going to be out there for the National Anthem,” she continued defiantly.

“If the league continues to want to play it, that’s fine. It will be all season long, I’ll not be out there.”

She said that the Olympics was the only sporting event where playing national anthem was appropriate.

Griner changed her tune after 10 months of Russian prison. She “stood tall” for the national anthem, according to The Blaze. Griner even expressed appreciation for the national anthem, reported CNN.

“Hearing the national anthem, it definitely hit different,” she said, in a stunning about face from 2020. “It’s like when you go for the Olympics, you’re sitting there, about to get gold put on your neck, the flags are going up and the anthem is playing, it just hits different. … Being here today … it means a lot.”

Griner joined her praise of the national anthem with expressed gratitude to be in America.

“I’m grateful to be here, that’s for sure,” she said, appreciating both her freedom and her position in the WNBA. “I’m not going to take a day for granted.”

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