MA VopelESPN.com4 minute read
Phoenix Mercury center Britney Greiner and teammates met Blaze Media’s YouTube personality at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Saturday morning before heading to Indiana after two games last week in Arlington, Texas. met.
Alex Stein, a Dallas native who has made a name for himself against politicians, posted a photo on Twitter, saying, “Just met my favorite WNBA player. Video coming soon.” Stein also posted a short video of him shouting at Greiner walking through the airport.
The league announced Saturday that Griner has been approved to charter a WNBA game. It’s unclear why she didn’t do so on Saturday.
“In gathering additional information about today’s incident at the Dallas airport, we learned that it was orchestrated by social media figures and agitators,” the league said in a statement. It’s unfortunate,” he said in a statement. “The safety of Brittney Griner and all WNBA players is our number one priority. Prior to the season, the WNBA worked with teams at Phoenix Mercury and BG to ensure her safety during her travels. This included charter flights and the deployment of security guards for WNBA games.” We remain resolutely committed to the highest standards of security for our players. “
Mercury also issued a statement late Saturday afternoon.
“We are reviewing the incident that occurred at Dallas Airport today.
“We are fully committed to supporting BG and defending all American hostages abroad. We will continue to support marginalized communities and the We will continue to fight hate and no one, regardless of status, should fear for their own safety.” We will coordinate next steps with the WNBA. “
Greiner’s teammate Brianna Turner took to social media to comment on the incident, saying, “The safety of the players on the move should be the number one priority. People chasing you with cameras saying that abusive language will never be tolerated. This is excessive harassment. “Our team was huddled in a corner nervously, not knowing how to move.” we want better. “
Greiner is still playing in the WNBA this year after missing all of last season. In February 2022, while returning to Russia to continue her overseas basketball season, she was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. Russian customs officials announced they found e-cigarette containers containing cannabis oil in her luggage, which she later admitted in court, but she packed in hastily with no criminal intent. said.
In August, Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison, but was released in December following prisoner-swap negotiations between the U.S. and Russian governments.
Greiner was warmly welcomed by the crowd at his home in Phoenix and on the road. This week she returned to her home state of Texas. The Mercury lost to the Dallas Wings on Wednesday and Friday. Next up is Indianapolis on Sunday against Indiana Fever.
The WNBA primarily uses commercial airlines for cost reasons, cannot afford charter flights for the league as a whole, and allows some of the 12 teams to use charter flights would raise the issue of competitive imbalance. is expected to occur. Earlier this year, the league announced it would operate charter flights for all playoff games this season, as well as some regular-season games, which are held on consecutive days and require air travel.
Griner’s approval by the league to charter for all games is exceptional due to the public attention surrounding her detention and release. But her agent, Lindsay Kagawa-Choras, said she believes the entire Mercury team and every team should take charter flights.
“Britney Greiner and the WNBA players are leaders who inspire hope for a better, more inclusive and less divided America,” Kagawa Chorus said via social media. “They are celebrated for their work to bring about positive change, but in doing so they are also targeted by hatred, intimidation and violence.
“And today’s incident is a stark reminder of that. We cannot honor them and their leadership without protecting them. The time to strengthen has passed.”
Griner’s travel safety was widely discussed before the season. Mercury and the WNBA said a plan had been developed for the team’s trip, including security. WNBA Commissioner Kathy Engelbart told media on opening night in Los Angeles on May 19 that the team will review its strategy throughout the season to ensure it meets the needs of Griner and the team.
“We are making travel plans for 20 away games,” said Engelbert. “We have a certain security plan in place right now, and of course we have to be agile about it. It is very important to evaluate it regularly. Phoenix Mercury intends to lead it. is.”
The Players Association (WNBPA) said in a statement Saturday that the Dallas incident is further evidence that the team will need a charter throughout the WNBA season. However, travel accommodations are part of the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement, most recently agreed in 2020.
“Throughout the beginning of the season, we have continued to hear from our members, and it is clear, especially today regarding the situation involving the Phoenix Mercury at Dallas Airport, that the charter travel issue is not a ‘competitive advantage’ issue. said the union. “I can’t help but wonder if leagues and teams will eliminate more reasonable and flexible rules for charter travel in 2023 to use this issue at the negotiating table.
“It was a calculated confrontation that all of BG and Phoenix’s teammates went through today that made them feel very dangerous. Everyone who was paying attention knew this was going to happen. We knew it was going to happen.” I could and should have been more proactive.”
“Allowing teams to operate charter flights is simply a matter of health and safety considerations for players, and unless the league and teams take this issue seriously, situations like this will continue to occur. Players. Any commercial flights forced on us are a threat to their health and safety.We ask leagues and teams not to wait another day to change travel rules.”