A condition of Britney’s Griner return to the WNBA after nearly a year spent in Russian detention concerned her in-season travel. The WNBA has long-held an anti-charter position to ensure fairness for all teams and their owners. However, fears for Griner’s safety, the WNBA allowed Griner to travel via charter flight for road games.
Despite this, the incident has once again been thrown into the spotlight after an incident at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. After two games against the Dallas Wings, members of the Phoenix Mercury were moving through DFW ahead of a Sunday game in Indiana. There, they were confronted by right-wing YouTuber Alex Stein, who has become well-known for his videos harassing politicians. In an excerpt of the video that Stein posted to his Twitter page, he is heard yelling “Do you still want to boycott America?” at Griner. After he is detained by team security and called “weird” by one of Griner’s teammates, Stein replies, “Why I am weird? She hates America.” It is unknown why Griner was not traveling via charter to Indiana.
WNBA Criticized For Griner Incident
The WNBA released a statement soon after the incident was first reported. “As we gather additional information about today’s incident at the Dallas airport, it has come to our attention that this was orchestrated by a social media figure and provocateur. His actions were inappropriate and unfortunate. The safety of Brittney Griner and all WNBA players is our top priority. Prior to the season, the WNBA worked together with the Phoenix Mercury and BG’s team to ensure her safety during her travel, which included charter flights for WNBA games and assigned security personnel with her at all times. We remain steadfastly committed to the highest standards of security for players.”
In her owner statement, Griner’s teammate Brianna Turner argued that the incident should have never happened in the first place. “”Player safety while traveling should be at the forefront. People following with cameras saying wild remarks is never acceptable. Excessive harassment. Our team nervously huddled in a corner unsure how to move about. We demand better.” It’s unclear what, if any, changes the league will make as a result of this incident. This is a developing story and we’ll have any updates here at HotNewHipHop.