Remember Brittney Griner? It would be unsurprising if you didn't, given the media silence surrounding her story, but it's also a reflection of priorities that need to change. Griner is the WNBA superstar who's been detained in Russia for two months, now, in what was no doubt a political move to make Putin look tough and frighten Americans in the region at the same time.
The story didn't even hit the news until nearly a month after she'd been arrested, and even then it barely registered a blip on the radar in the consciousness of the nation before stories about her were gone. Not so for Rev. Al Sharpton of Politics Nation, nor for U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) who have each been doing their respective parts to keep the story alive and bring Griner back home.
SHARPTON: I want to bring up the subject I talked about for weeks here. The professional basketball player, Brittany Griner has been in Russian custody for two months now. After being detained allegedly for the possession of cannabis derivative at the Moscow Airport. A charge that could carry up to ten years in Russian prison. Details remain scarce in her case. I know you've been a staunch advocate in Congress for her release. From that view, what can you tell us tonight?
MFUME: Sadly, it's been two months since her arrest, and the details around it is like a riddle in a mystery wrapped in an enigma. We don't know anything, except we know that if this were a male basketball player or a white basketball player, they would not be detained without any sort of dialogue or conversation, or interest whatsoever. I've been urging people to pay attention to what is going on here. This is just a Russian attempt to find a way to find a political pawn and particularly, one that is gay.
This, for them, is something that they're selling at home as the right thing to do. And, of course they're saying well, she was caught with contraband. She's been working as a basketball player in Russia for seven years, going back and forth, back and forth. So this has to have the same kind, attention I think, that the Free Britney Spears movement had, where everybody was reporting it on every station, where all social media was focused on it. There was a great deal of attention. We have to be just as adamant about freeing Brittney Griner as we were about quote, "freeing" Britney Spears.
Sharpton ended by noting how alarming the silence has been surrounding Griner's arrest. I'm not sure if he meant silence from the media or from the government, but if you care anything about an American Black, gay woman being held in a Russian prison for what might likely be trumped up charges, does it matter from where the silence comes?