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FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner is free at last - - (Lorie Shaull - photo)

 

 

The now 55-year-old Russian Viktor Bout is known as The Merchant of Death

 

Charles Barkley was a member of the 1992 USA Olympic Dream team BUT… he was never a member of an NBA title winning team

 

Bill Russell is seen here in the green uniform guarding Wilt Chamberlain. They had some of the NBA's most classic battles. Russell sadly passed away Sunday at the age of 88 - (US Library of Congress image)

 

SPORTS NOTES - BRITTNEY GRINER RELEASED & the SPORTS WORLD TURNS

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

It's a sad tale that appears to be ending well. In return America gets its pro basketball player back to score some buckets (points) and Putin acquires someone that knows how to sell arms - NBA's ALL TIME BEST PLAYERS 1st and 2nd TEAMS

 

Sunday December 11, 2022

GRINER is FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST

The bottom line is sports and politics should not mix but unfortunately is has. The first victim of this outrageous policy is WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner has been held in legal custody in Russia since February.

Griner was taken into custody at a Moscow airport on February 17 when a minute amount of cannabis oil was found in her luggage. She received a nine-year prison sentence after being convicted on drug smuggling charges.

Outrage emerged raising the question why would the Russian government hold an athlete that played for a Russian team, for such a minor incident, if it were interpreted that way. It was not.

Griner was arriving in Russia to play for a Russian team as she has done for years. That contribution amounted to nothing. The Russian government then insisted that the US Government swap Griner for Russian Viktor Bout.

Bout had been in a US prison for 11 years serving a 25-year term. He is recognized as being a major arms dealer. His life of crime inspired the making of the film Lord of War.

Her crime of carrying drugs seemed to be an unrealistic value to swap for a man called the Merchant of Death. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, she was the perfect instrument for retaliation against the US governments sanctions imposed on his country.

Putin played his game perfectly while holding the wild card of Griner while outrage in America built up by its citizens. In the beginning of the negotiations Griner appeared not to be that valuable of an asset in exchange for the release for a notorious arms dealer. It was her fame and what appeared to be an unjust crime for her to be held that created the turmoil of outrage in America.

The US State Department has claimed that Griner is wrongfully detained, despite her pleading guilty, with the Biden administration communicating with Russia to try and secure her release and that of imprisoned American Paul Whelan, according to a senior White House official who spoke to CNN.

As the outrage built up in America the US government became more nervous about public opinion. The US wanted former military man Paul Whelan included in an exchange of prisoners.

Whelan (born March 5, 1970) is a Canadian-born former United States Marine with U.S., British, Irish and Canadian citizenship. He was arrested in Russia on December 28, 2018, and accused of spying. On June 15, 2020, he received a 16-year prison sentence.

The problem with that proposed deal is Whelan doesn't have a fan base to support him. The other major factor is Putin apparently believed that should he get what he wanted he was basically holding the trump card in Griner whose popularity had more value than that of a spy.

In contrast Griner who is 32 and an African American, is an openly lesbian. She has the black, gay and sports communities supporting her. For Putin a known commodity has more value than a secret unknown quantity of a suspected spy.

It took nine months but he was right. The exchange was made and Griner was free at last. According to media reports. Both Griner and Bout were pardoned by their respective nations before the swap, which means they won't need to continue serving their terms at home, TASS reported.

At first the doom and gloom stories of how treatment in a Russian prison was unbearable became fiction. She wasn't sentenced to breaking rocks or work in a salt mine, she was assigned to sew clothing. Being 6'9" Griner she was too tall to sit at a work desk. She was then assigned to carry the material to the workers.

On the plane ride Griner didn't know where she was going. She was then told she was on her way home to America. Her eyes were clear and her disposition seemed to be calm and normal. If one were to hear the scenarios that CNN reported portrayed you would think she would be beaten and scared… but… she was not.

During the prisoner swap Bout, said he wished Griner good luck on the tarmac in Abu Dhabi where they were exchanged. "I wished her luck, she even sort of reached out her hand to me," Bout said on Saturday in an interview with Russian state-controlled broadcaster RT.

"Again, it's our tradition. You should wish everyone good fortune and happiness," he said, adding that he believed Griner "was positively inclined" towards him.

It's a sad tale that appears to be ending well. In return America gets its pro basketball player back to score some buckets (points) and Putin acquires someone that knows how to sell arms. It appears to be his catch-up game with America who is sending billions of dollars' worth of arms to the Ukraine government to kill Russians.

Whelan has no grudge towards Griner but he has expressed that the US government should do more to set him free. The problem he's been accused of being a spy and a danger to the Russian government and and their national security. Putin doesn't like that.

The bottom line is SPORTS AND POLITICS SHOULD NOT MIX… NOR SHOULD WARS EXIST… LETS GIVE PEACE A CHANCE.


 

NBA's ALL TIME BEST PLAYERS

THE NBA's GREATEST of ALL TIME
1st Team
Position
2nd Team
Larry Bird
PF
Elgin Baylor
SF
Julius Erving
Bill Russell
C
Wilt Chamberlain
Michael Jordan
SG
LeBron James
Magic Johnson
PG
Oscar Robertson
11th & 12th MAN SUBSTITUTES & Coach
C/F
C
Coach

NBA's 50 GREATEST PLAYERS of ALL TIME LIST

On October 29, 1996 In conjunction with the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the list of The 50 Greatest Players in NBA History was announced. It included: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Archibald, Paul Arizin, Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham, Dave DeBusschere, Clyde Drexler, Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, George Gervin, Hal Greer, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Earvin Johnson, Sam Jones, Michael Jordan, Jerry Lucas, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale, George Mikan, Earl Monroe, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Bob Pettit, Scottie Pippen, Willis Reed, Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell, Dolph Schayes, Bill Sharman, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Bill Walton, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy


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