The Boston Celtics stand in solidarity with Brittney Griner.
Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Grant Williams and other Celtics teammates donned black and orange shirts that read “We Are BG” ahead of practice at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Saturday. The back of the shirt featured a QR code that linked to a Change.org petition to “Secure the Speedy and Safe Return of Brittney Griner to the United States”.
As of Saturday afternoon, the petition had over 243,000 signatures.
“As a collective, we wanted to come out and show our support for Brittney Griner,” Brown said. “She’s been there a long time, and we think that’s enough.”
Williams added: “We just wanted to show that solidarity and that love that we not only have in the NBA, but also in the WNBA. She’s been an essential part of the WNBA for years, in college and in impact. she’s had on young female athletes.”
Griner, a seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained for 107 days after vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil were allegedly found in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. The US State Department reclassified Griner as “wrongfully detained” by the Russian government last month.
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Williams said he coordinated with the Women’s National Basketball Players Association and the National Basketball Players Association for players’ jersey night.
“We just wanted to do this as a team,” Williams explained. “It was one of those things where nobody questioned it. Everyone was like, ‘Let’s do it. “Everyone put on the shirt immediately when we received it, fresh out of the box. They were ironed and ready to go, so we wanted to show that love and support.
Jayson Tatum spoke about getting to know Griner while representing the United States Men’s and Women’s National Teams in 2020. Tatum and Griner both won Olympic gold medals at the Tokyo Games.
“Being there with the Olympics, obviously it was during COVID and we couldn’t really go out and see other events and things like that. So after the games, after practice, we would be in the room foster, men and women. We’d be in there, playing cards, karaoke, things like that, video games,” Tatum said. “A great person to be around. She lights up the whole room with her personality.”
He continued, “It’s extremely hard to see what she’s going through. I know everyone sees and feels that, and obviously we’re all together trying to get her back to her family and things like that. Yeah , wearing these shirts today in support of her.”
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league was working to “expedite” Griner’s release.
“She has now been illegally detained in Russia for over a hundred days,” Silver said Thursday ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “I think this is something we should all be heard about, reaching out to your representatives and others. I will only say that we are working closely with the US government and outside experts to try to expedite his release. in any way possible. Certainly our hearts go out to her and her family, and I look forward to her safe return, so I join my colleagues at the WNBA in making reference to her as well.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals takes place Sunday on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. The Celtics lead the series 1-0.
Follow Cydney Henderson on Twitter @CydHenderson
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