“We need her, she needs us” Brittney Griner’s Russian friend takes bold stance for ‘captured’ star

“We need her, she needs us” Brittney Griner’s Russian friend takes bold stance for ‘captured’ star

Evgeniya Belyakova, Brittney Griner

When Brittney Griner was on trial in July, several members of her Russian basketball team supported her and gave testimony in the tribunal complimenting her honesty, integrity and leadership abilities. Evgeniya Belyakova, the captain of UMMC Ekaterinburg, declared in utmost support of Griner in court that she was the heart of their squad.


Brittney Griner’s nation has been trying for about 7 months to bring her back. According to rumors, she and another American detained in Russia may be exchanged as prisoners. Griner submitted a guilty plea in a case that was delayed in July, highlighting how volatile ties have become between the US and Russia ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The State Department has issued stern warnings telling Americans not to travel to Russia in response to her situation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Griner’s family, attorneys, friends, and other athletes from all around the world have encouraged the government to boost up efforts to get the WNBA star back as soon as possible.

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A close up look on Brittney Griner and her Russian captivity

After graduating from Baylor University in 2013, Brittney Griner was selected by the Phoenix Mercury in the first round. Since then, she has been a curicial member of the team. The 31-year-old is regarded as one of the best WNBA players, and in 2021, she was selected as one of the top 25 players in league history. She received the Player of the Year Award and a collegiate national championship in 2012. She has also won two Olympic gold medals and a WNBA title since beginning her professional career while playing for the US women’s national basketball team. In 2013, Griner started her professional sporting career, making history as the first out gay athlete to join Nike.


Russian authorities have been paying closer attention to Brittney Griner since arresting her on February 17 at Sheremetyevo International Airport on the grounds that she was in possession of illegal vape cartridges containing hashish oil. Griner, like many other female basketball players, goes overseas during the WNBA summer to expand her salaries and refine her expertise. The Russian Women’s Basketball Premier League team Griner was representing at the time of her arrest was UMMC Ekaterinburg. She was handed a nine-year prison term despite the fact that her attorneys had appealed the decision in August since cannabis oil is illegal in Russia.

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Griner’s Russian teammate with optimum support

Evgeniya Belyakova, a teammate from UMMC Ekaterinburg, and Maxim Ryabkov, the team’s general manager, spoke during the brief court hearing in July while Griner sat nearby in the defendants’ cage. Brittney Griner broke down in tears as they came into being. The fact that her teammates fearlessly went up in support of her was perhaps what impacted her. Belyakova implied: “Bad things happen to all of us, and it’s very important to be with this person. So we need her. She needs us and that’s it.” Outside the courthouse, Ryabkov told reporters, that current day was the first time they had seen their basketball star since February, and she was healthy and very well.

Despite the greatest efforts of American officials, Griner’s situation remains unknown. The authorities have been vocal in their support of a prisoner exchange arrangement in order to secure Griner’s release. Not everyone agrees that a weapons dealer should be released, despite the fact that many supporters and notable personalities have expressed their displeasure. There haven’t been any major changes in the WNBA star’s release as of today, but we expect to learn more about her anticipated release from jail and return to the United States shortly. The most current information suggests that Griner and her family may still be positive despite their troubles.


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