In Russia The Punishment Rarely Fits The Crime
Brittney Griner might not appear as the most sympathetic figure at first glance. She is 6’9 with arms covered in tattoos and those who have followed her know she has had problems on and off the court.
However none of that means anything as the 31-year old basketball star sits in a Russian jail following her conviction for cannabis possession. She’s already spent six months there and was sentenced to nine years in prison last week by a judge who clearly was given a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin to hand down a harsh sentence. Despite her pleas and apologies that she made a mistake by packing vape cartridges in her luggage there was no way Griner was going to walk and she is now a political pawn for Putin to play with.
Some might have a somewhat cold reaction to the WNBA star…after all the drug possession did violate Russian laws. However if ever there was a case of the punishment not matching the crime this was it. At most she should have been given credit for time served, banned from playing basketball in Russia again (she was caught at the airport as she entered the country to play for a local team) and fined. However in Putin’s world this was a golden opportunity to strike a blow against the U.S. and make us as uncomfortable as possible knowing that the American public would demand action.
I do expect that sometime soon there will be a prisoner swap between the two countries and Griner will come home to reunite with her family. But every day she remains in custody just outside of Moscow has to be a living hell and one she simply does not deserve. Nobody does!