A theory has been put forward about Brittney Griner’s harsh prison sentence in Russia.
According to a prominent scholar and former professor, Griner’s punishment was so harsh because of the color of her skin and her sexuality.
One of the WNBA’s top players, Griner is black and gay. She was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for drug offenses. Griner was arrested at the airport earlier this year when drugs were found in her backpack.
“There’s no question that if she weren’t a woman challenging sexual norms … she’s married to a woman but is a dominant ballplayer. She is a phenomenal cultural icon. Even LeBron had to admit it,” Michael Eric Dyson told Yahoo. “This black woman, if she had been anyone else – even a straight black woman would have received more support than a queer black woman with a black woman.”
Sports fans have debated the controversial theory.
“That sounds like wishful thinking from someone pushing an ideological agenda. More likely, any bias was due to the fact that we are arming and supporting Russia’s military enemy,” one fan wrote.
“Her sentencing was so severe because she was an American in Russia at a time of high tensions caused by sanctions. If Ms. Grindr felt that her race or sexual identity put her at risk in Russia, she had numerous other intentional basketball options. It’s rather insulting for her to suggest that she hasn’t considered whether she’s safe there,” added one fan.
“You are right, Mr Dyson. But the Russians know that with a higher sentence for Griner, they have stronger bargaining power, especially if the US wants to secure Whelan’s release at the same time as Griner. So Putin will urge the Russian arms dealer and at least one other high-ranking prisoner to act,” wrote another fan.
Griner, one of the WNBA’s top players, has been in Russian custody since the beginning of this year.
The US government continues to work to bring them home. Hopefully it will happen soon.