Brittney Griner may not have attended the 2022 ESPYS, but her presence was certainly felt on Wednesday.
The eight-time WNBA All-Star was arrested on February 17 in Moscow for possession of vaping cartridges filled with hash oil. On July 7, the two-time gold medalist pleaded guilty to the drug charges and faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison.
"It has been 153 nights now that B.G. has been wrongfully detained thousands of miles away from home, away from her family, away from her friends, away from her team," said WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith.
The arrest came at the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is considered by many to be politically motivated. Russia is reportedly willing to release her in exchange for the convicted Russian arms dealer known as the "Merchant of Death."
"B.G. deserves to be free," Megan Rapinoe said during her acceptance speech for Best Play. "She is being held as a political prisoner, obviously."
While other sports stars, like Billie Jean King, got involved in calling for Griner's release, there was one moment built into the show specifically for that purpose. NBA star and ESPYS host Steph Curry joined Diggins-Smith and WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike to deliver a message to viewers about keeping Griner in their thoughts.
"The more that we say her name, the louder our voices will be," Ogwumike said.
"The more that we see her face, the closer that we will feel to her and her to us," said Diggins-Smith.
Curry closed out the moment by adding, "We cannot stop fighting for her. We cannot stop believing for her. We will not stop hoping for the day we can welcome her home safely. We are B.G."
For more on the ESPYS visit ESPN.
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