Quote Box: Reaction to Brittney Griner's release from Russia

Reactions after WNBA star Brittney Griner was freed from a Russian prison in a high-profile prisoner exchange

ByThe Associated Press
December 8, 2022, 7:36 PM
FILE - Brittney Griner (15) runs up court during women's basketball gold medal game against Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Aug. 8, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. Russia has freed WNBA star Brittney Griner in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange, w
FILE - Brittney Griner (15) runs up court during women's basketball gold medal game against Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Aug. 8, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. Russia has freed WNBA star Brittney Griner in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange, with the U.S. releasing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
The Associated Press

Reactions after WNBA star Brittney Griner was freed from a Russian prison in a high-profile prisoner exchange.

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“A strong woman has the strength of 10 men. If you think about all the women that have been advocating for BG for nine months and you add up our strength. This movement brought her home. Yes I know there were people working behind the scenes. President (Joe) Biden, Vice President (Kamala) Harris, Secretary (Antony) Blinken. It’s the strength of all of us that made it happen. No we didn’t cry. No we didn’t settle. We just got stronger and stronger and stronger until this day. We knew Brittney probably had weak moments. We were going to be strong for Brittney. We were going to be strong for (wife) Cherelle. We were going to be strong for the Griner family.” — South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who coached Griner on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team that won gold.

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"There has not been a day over the past ten months where we all haven’t had Brittney Griner on our minds and in our hearts and that has now turned into a collective wave of joy and relief knowing that she will soon be reunited with her family, the WNBA player community, and her friends. BG has shown extraordinary courage and dignity in the face of enormous adversity. The WNBA is grateful beyond measure to the Biden Administration, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, and all those who played a role in bringing BG home today. Our hope is that Paul Whelan and every wrongfully detained American will be returned home safely and as soon as possible.” — WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

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“BG is so much more than a athlete. The primary concern is making sure her mental health is progressing and she’s able to recover from the past 294 days. She could never step foot on a court again and I will still support her relentlessly.” — Phoenix Mercury teammate Brianna Turner.

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“Brittney Griner has shown bravery and resolve over the last nearly 300 days. USA Basketball is relieved that she is on her way home and will happily reunite with her wife, family and friends. As her USA Basketball family, we are grateful for the work of the U.S. government and everyone who has worked behind the scenes to achieve this outcome. We look forward to seeing Brittney again when the time is right and wish her the best in the days and weeks ahead. We have Paul Whelan and his loved ones in our thoughts and know the Administration will work tirelessly to bring Mr. Whelan and other Americans who are detained home safely.” — USA Basketball

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“My heart is really singing with joy right now. Our sister is finally free. This is a monumental moment for everyone who has shown compassion for our WNBA sister over the last 294 days since BG was wrongfully detained.” — WNBA player Chiney Ogwumike said.

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“Miraculously, mercifully, the count of days detained has ended at 294, and our friend, our sister is headed back home where she belongs. The emotions for our organization, just like for our fans and so many across the world, are those of joyous celebration, deep gratitude, grief for the time lost, and sincere hope for all families still awaiting the return of a loved one. BG’s strength in this process, her unwavering belief that resolution would come, and the hope she displayed every day is what kept all of us believing this day would come." — WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and NBA's Phoenix Suns.

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“Brittney has had to endure an unimaginable situation and we’re thrilled that she is on her way home to her family and friends. We thank the members of the NBA and WNBA community who never wavered in their efforts to raise awareness of Brittney’s unjust circumstances.” — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

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“It’s joyful news for a whole lot of reasons. I guess she’s coming to San Antonio from what I’ve seen in the media to get checked out. It’s wonderful in so many different ways. At the same time, as she even said, having other people still being treated the way they are in so many different countries, it’s still evident that there is a lot of work to be done to bring a lot more people home.” — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

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“It’s just great for Brittney. I can’t imagine what she’s gone through over this last year. I just hope she’s healthy, her mental health is strong, and she can get back and just reintegrate herself back into our country.” — Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers.

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“Just from knowing her from the Olympics, she’s such a sweet girl. She doesn’t bother anybody, minds her own business, stays in her own lane. I’m really happy that she gets to come back and see her family and just be back in her own bed. I feel like it’s going to be hard for her to get readjusted with the world. Because obviously, none of us have no idea what she was going through. When she gets back over and hopefully she tells her story one day, I feel like that would be a great story for people to hear.” — Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo.

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Follow AP’s coverage of Brittney Griner at: https://apnews.com/hub/brittney-griner

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