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Brittney Griner Claims Putin Used her Blackness in New Memoir

Brittney Griner Claims Putin Used her Blackness in New Memoir

WNBA star Brittney Griner has shared her harrowing experiences during her nearly 10-month imprisonment in Russia in her new memoir, Coming Home, which debuted Tuesday at No. 1 on Amazon’s best-sellers list.

Brittney Griner details her arrest, imprisonment in notorious Russian penal colonies, and her challenges as a Black gay woman in a Russian prison under President Vladimir Putin.

Brittney Griner was arrested in February 2022 after less than a gram of cannabis oil was found in her luggage at a Moscow airport. She pleaded guilty to drug charges and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

In her memoir, she explains how she felt like a pawn in Putin’s political maneuvering. “For Putin, my worth was as a pawn. My arrest gave him leverage in his clash with the West,” she wrote.

The Phoenix Mercury star also reflects on the impact of her actions on her closely knit family and the Black community. “When you’re Black, your behavior is never just about you. It’s about your entire community,” she wrote.

Brittney Griner describes the harsh conditions of her detention, including her time at Correctional Colony No. 1, a former orphanage turned prison, and at the labor camp Correctional Colony No. 2, known for “horrid conditions, hard labor, and inmate torture.”

She recalls the difficult workdays making military uniforms, shoveling snow, and breaking up ice, and the struggle to maintain her mental health.

Her release was secured in December 2022 through a prisoner swap, in which the U.S. exchanged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner. Before her release, she experienced one last humiliation when Russian guards ordered her to strip naked and took photos.

Griner’s resolve remains strong as she returns to her life in the U.S. and playing for the Mercury, while also seeing a therapist. She vows to continue advocating for the release of Paul Whelan, a former Marine detained in Russia since 2018 on accusations of spying, charges the U.S. denies.

Despite the hardships she faced, Griner stands firm, determined to use her story to raise awareness about the plight of others unjustly detained and the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Russia.



  1. MhDupKjwNybSmYd May 16, 2024



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