Brittney Griner’s Possible Need To Fly Private As She Returns To WNBA Raises Concerns & Questions
Brittney Griner plans to return to the court for the 2023 WNBA season — and her return is raising concerns.
The assumption that the Phoenix Mercury center will need to fly privately due to security concerns has brought a key issue to light: Charter air travel. As a result, former WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart is making charter air travel a key component of her free agency.
If Brittney Griner were to fly privately, the league would need to decide if her Mercury teammates would also be able to do so — a move that is currently prohibited.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne,
“The issue of private air travel has come to the forefront of free agent conversations around the WNBA, multiple sources told ESPN, because of the assumption that Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner will need to fly privately due to security concerns.”
“If Griner were to fly privately the league would have to address whether her teammates on the Mercury would fly privately with her. That would raise the question of fairness for the other teams in the league, which are currently not allowed to fly privately.”
While Brittney Griner does indeed plan to return to the league, she hasn’t yet requested special travel accommodations.
In her first statement post-release, Griner expressed gratitude to everyone who stood up for her both before and after her situation. She added,
“I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon.”
— Kareem Copeland (@kareemcopeland) December 16, 2022
Stewart, who has played with Griner on American national teams and tweeted about her almost daily while she was incarcerated, brought up the topic of charter air travel for the whole WNBA in a tweet on Sunday.
The free agent said she would contribute cash from her own name, image, and likeness deals, social media posts, and production hours to ensure the league could travel privately “in a way that prioritizes player health + safety” and “ultimately results in a better product.”
As previously reported, Brittney Griner was released in December 2022 after serving nearly 300 days of a nine-year sentence in a Russian prison. Last February, she was detained at an airport after a small quantity of hashish oil was discovered in her luggage.
Prior to her release as part of a prisoner swap for Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, mediated by President Joe Biden‘s administration, she was illegally incarcerated for a total of nine months.
What are your thoughts on the entire situation? Let us know in the comments!