Russian prison appears to have turned Brittney Griner - the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) player - from a National Anthem protestor to a National Anthem supporter.
According to Fox News, Griner has decided that, at least for the time being, she will be standing for the U.S. National Anthem.
Previously - that is, before her detention in Russia - Griner was one of those American athletes who opposed the National Anthem due to perceived racial injustices.
Griner, in July 2020, argued that the National Anthem ought not to be played before WNBA games. And, she even threatened to leave the court in protest should it continue to be played.
But, apparently, 10 months in a Russian prison has changed her perception of the situation here in America.
Griner found herself in a Russian prison in February 2022 after being caught, at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, with illegal vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage. Griner, at the time, was playing for a Russian basketball team in order to make more money during the WNBA offseason.
Griner was arrested by Russian authorities, pled guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor. She then remained in a Russian prison for 10 months until President Joe Biden negotiated a highly controversial swap of Griner for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout.
A big question that many had was whether Griner, after her time in a Russian prison, would still continue her protesting of the U.S. National Anthem. We now have the answer.
Griner recently played in her first WNBA game since her incarceration and she and her teammates stood for the National Anthem.
Afterward, Griner said:
Hearing the national anthem, it definitely hit different. It’s like when you go for the Olympics, you’re sitting there, about to get gold put on your neck, the flags are going up, and the anthem is playing, it just hits different. Being here today ... it means a lot.
The situation would appear to speak for itself. But, Griner's agent - sports rep. Lindsay Kagawa Colas - decided to publish an op-ed in Time magazine explaining why it is that Griner will now be standing for the anthem.
It might be worth noting that the op-ed is titled, Why Brittney Griner will stand for the National Anthem this year. Does that mean that Griner does not plan to stand for the anthem next year?
Colas, in the op-ed writes:
Having been put in a literal cage, too small for her frame, stripped of her essential American freedoms, and deprived of even her most basic rights during a sham trial and unjust sentencing, Brittney, supported by many other players, will make a statement this WNBA season by standing tall for those uniquely American freedoms — the most important of which being the absolute and inviolable and constitutionally protected freedom to stand, sit, kneel, praise, protest, and otherwise make your voice heard.
Colas, however, also in the op-ed gave legitimacy to the notion of protesting the National Anthem in the name of perceived racial injustice.