Friday, August 19, 2022

Kennedy Backs US Help For Russia-Held Griner Despite “Despicable” Act

Former UFC and Strikeforce fighter Tim Kennedy has given his take on professional basketball player Brittney Griner’s Russian imprisonment.

On February 17, Griner, who plays for Phoenix Mercury in the Women’s National Basketball Association, was arrested on drug charges whilst entering Russia at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. She was accused by the Federal Security Service of possessing vaporizer cartridges containing cannabis oil, which is an illegal substance in the nation.

After many suggested that Griner’s detention derived from Russia’s desire to use her as leverage against Western sanctions imposed following its invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. State Department concluded that the 31-year-old Texan had been “wrongfully detained.”

On Thursday, Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in a court near the Russian capital, but insisted that there was no intent to break the nation’s law.

Prior to her latest court appearance, Griner wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, pleading for help in securing her release and safe travel back to the US.

“…[A]s I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever.” (h/t The Hill)

While many have backed further intervention from the government, not everyone is doing so with full support of Griner.

Kennedy Finds ‘Irony’ In Griner’s Plight

If convicted, Griner could face up to 10 years in a Russian prison. And while Tim Kennedy, who competed in MMA and served in the United States military simultaneously, believes she should be saved from that consequence, he doesn’t have much sympathy for her.

In a post on Instagram, the 42-year-old Californian implied that there was some form of ‘irony’ in the fact that Griner, like many others, delivered protests against police brutality in the US during the playing of the national anthem, and is now in need of the government’s help.

“Do you remember that time that you were protesting your own government and even requesting that the National Anthem not be played at your games then going back to this same government and pleading that they intervene on your behalf to get you out of a Russian prison after you illegally brought drugs into their country,” Kennedy wrote. “Does not get more ironic than this”

Kennedy went on to note that while he believes Griner’s actions were “despicable,” he still believes that every American should be ‘fought for’, including Griner.

“…Even with her despicable behavior I do believe that every American is worth fighting for even those that hate their own country.”

While Biden was confirmed to have called Griner’s wife on Wednesday and assured her that he was doing everything he could to secure the 31-year-old’s release, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said Thursday that the US president’s attempts to make public noise about the case is not helping.

Do you agree with Tim Kennedy’s take on Brittney Griner’s situation?

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