WNBA Star Brittney Griner get 9 Years in Prison – Did She Deserve It?
Unless you live under a rock, you have by now heard that Britney Griner, a WNBA star playing in Russia was arrested last February for carrying 0.702 grams of hashish oil, a product that contains cannabis, in two vape cartridges. The Russian authorities determined that it was enough to meet their “distribution” guidelines, and she has been in jail waiting for trial ever since.
Now the trial is over. The verdict? 9 years in prison, just short of the 10 years maximum.
For those of you who have never traveled internationally, bringing illegal drugs with you is the stupidest possible thing you can do. When you enter another country, especially one like Russia, YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS, you are at the mercy of a capricious, corrupt government, they can literally do whatever they want. And there need be no logic, no justice, no reason whatsoever.
Was she actually counting on Russian customs officials to be incompetent? Was she thinking they would be “nice” and let her get by with it? Was she thinking that her “celebrity” status would get her through? Sorry, these guys have no sense of humor.
How stupid is this? Did you know that 30 countries around the world can give you the DEATH PENALTY for trafficking drugs?
She made some other mistakes too. She claimed in court that it was for “medicinal purposes.” You might get away with that in a U.S. court, but nobody really believes that bulls&^t. Especially a Russian judge who (rightfully, in this case) believes you are trying to get away with something.
Second, her friends and family in the U.S. have managed to bring this to the attention of the Biden administration. It’s a national story. Judges (and not just Russian judges) hate it when there is political pressure on a criminal case. Plus Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned against “megaphone diplomacy” — “Any exchange of information should be discreet.” They were not discreet. And now a pissed-off Russian judge who was ready to throw the book anyway was asked by his government to throw the book.
They threw the book.
And to complicate things, the Biden administration has indicated that a trade might be a viable option. One of the prisoners proposed was Vadim Krasikov, a former official with links to the domestic spy agency who was convicted of murder in 2021 in Germany. Another was Vladislav Klyushin, a Kremlin insider extradited to the US in December on insider-trading charges.
So the Biden administration has opened the door to Russia taking hostages whenever one of theirs is captured and they want them back? This is the equivalent to negotiating and even paying off terrorists. You never, ever put yourself in that position. But since the U.S. appears to have proposed it, the Russians will gladly play along.
Do I believe Griner deserves to spend the rest of her professional basketball life in a Russian jail cell for less than a gram of vape oil? No, I don’t.
But we are not talking about what she deserves in the United States. She is not only the victim of her own stupidity, she is the victim of a totalitarian government, and the victim of a series of missteps by an inept Biden administration.
Britney Griner is an adult, she did this with eyes wide open. That was very arrogant of her. She is being made an example of. Now it may take a long time to get her out. She may even have to serve her whole sentence.
It is kind of like being guilty of texting while driving, but accidentally driving off a 500 foot cliff.