In 2020, Brittney Griner decided not to stand for the anthem and declared that she would not participate in any games where the song was played before tipoff.
Griner, arguably the best player in the WNBA, now claims that her time spent in a Russian prison has altered her views on the American flag and the national anthem and that instead of protesting during the traditional pregame song in 2020, she plans to stand this year.
She said that the national anthem “hit differently” upon her return to basketball after her imprisonment. She said she would stand for the anthem whenever it was played but never tell anyone else they couldn’t express their opinions in any way they saw fit.
After being arrested in February 2022 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport with cannabis oil in vape canisters, the star center for the Phoenix Mercury spent nearly ten months in a Russian prison.
President Joe Biden’s administration arranged for her repatriation to the United States in exchange for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Griner’s rethinking comes with caveats. She says people have the right to speak out, question, confront, and engage in all forms of protest against the United States. But everything she went through has a little more significance now.
Therefore, she will now stand.
One of the things that had a significant impact on her, she told ESPN, was that she was essentially in a cage in the Russian prison and could not stand.
Seeing and hearing her flag and national anthem makes her want to stand.
But, she says, everyone currently refusing to stand up has her full and undivided support.
She said that’s what it means to be a citizen of this great nation, the right to free speech.
Griner has seen a terrible nation, Russia, so the U.S. no longer looks so bad.