At a Dallas airport on Saturday, a “provocateur” confronted Brittney Griner and her Phoenix Mercury colleagues.
According to a statement from the WNBA, an investigation is being conducted into the team’s encounter with a “social media figure” whose “actions were inappropriate and unfortunate.”
Without going into specifics, the WNBA stated that its first goal is ensuring the safety of Brittney Griner and all of its players.
When the All-Star center returned from her detention in Russia, the league had spoken with Griner’s lawyers and the Mercury about security issues when she traveled for away games. The assumption was that the widely reported case had jeopardized her and other people’s safety. Griner was given authorization by the league to arrange her own charter planes.
For the playoffs this year, the WNBA included charter flights, but just a few back-to-back regular-season games were planned for such flights.
Since the WNBA’s debut in 1997, teams have flown commercially during the regular season. The league normally forbids teams from chartering because it could provide financially strong teams an unfair competitive edge.
Mercury Condemn Harassment of Brittney Griner
According to a statement from the WNBA, “Prior to the season, the WNBA worked 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 continue to be unwaveringly committed to the highest standards of player security.”
In a tweet, Mercury player Brianna Turner claimed that airport patrons had been “saying wild remarks” while following the squad with cameras.
It was “excessive harassment,” Turner tweeted. “Our group huddled in a corner, uncertain of how to proceed. We expect better.
In a video that was shared on Twitter, it looks like Griner is being questioned by the person about “why she hates America?”
A statement denouncing the event was released by the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, an advocacy group that fights to return Americans who are being held captive or detained abroad.
“We ask social media firms to forbid the commercialization of any resulting content because taking advantage of a newly released prisoner in this way is wrong. The Phoenix Mercury, Brittney, her teammates, and Our Campaign are all on the same team, the group declared.
Griner has garnered enthusiastic support from crowds both at home in Phoenix and while touring. She played two games in her home state of Texas last week, and on Sunday the team was traveling to Indianapolis to play the Fever.
However, following the event on Saturday, many have demanded that the Mercury and other clubs in the league adjust their flights.
The tweet below confirms the news:
The WNBA says Brittney Griner and her Phoenix Mercury teammates were confronted by a “provocateur” at a Dallas airport. https://t.co/DD42VssAqG
— ABC News (@ABC) June 10, 2023
Griner’s Agent, Wnba Players’ Union Call for Charter Flights After Harassment
Following the incident, Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, stated on social media that she believes all teams should charter flights.
“Brittney Griner and the WNBA players are leaders who inspire hope for a better, more inclusive, and less divided America,” Kagawa Colas remarked. They are lauded for the manner in which their advocacy promotes constructive change. By doing so, they expose themselves to threats, violence, and hatred. The event of today serves as a stark reminder of that. Without also defending these women, we cannot honor their leadership. Charters and better security measures for all participants are long overdue.
In a statement released on Saturday, the WNBA players’ union said that the circumstances at the airport demonstrate “clearly” that charter travel is NOT a “competitive advantage” issue.
“What BG and all of her PHX teammates experienced today was a calculated confrontation that left them feeling very unsafe,” the WNBPA statement claims. “Anyone paying attention knew this was going to happen.”
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The Mercury said in a statement that it will consult with the league about the next steps.
The team’s statement states, “We are committed to our support of BG and advocating for all American hostages abroad.” “We’ll keep assisting underserved groups and combating the kind of hatred that singled us out today. No one should ever worry about their safety, regardless of who they are.
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