Since March of this year, WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner has been incarcerated in Russia, and is now facing 10 years in prison. She – like many other WNBA stars – has played there professionally in her off-season for seven years because women athletes simply don’t make enough money playing in the U.S. While male NBA players make an average of $8.5 million per year, WNBA players make an average of only $120,000!
Largely because of the massive pay inequality between NBA and WNBA players, Griner now faces a decade in prison, effectively ending her playing career. Her crime? She was detained at an airport near Moscow for having two THC vape cartridges in her luggage. Of course, Griner is likely being used by Russia as a bargaining chip with the U.S. for a potential prisoner swap.
While what Russia is doing is outrageous, the U.S. isn’t in much of a position to criticize. In 2020, there were close to a quarter million Americans behind bars for drug-related offenses. In addition, African Americans continue to be arrested for possession of cannabis four times as often as whites, despite consuming the drug at roughly the same rates.
From Russia to the U.S., justice for Brittney Griner, justice for us all!