Brittney Griner released by Russia in 1-for-1 prisoner swap for brutal arms dealer Viktor Bout
WNBA star Brittney Griner has officially been released from Russian custody. The shock move came at the deadline, with the United States trading notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout aka The Merchant of Death in exchange for Griner, who was sentenced to 10 years in a penal colony for possession of a dab pen.
Brittney Griner and Bout were exchanged in the United Arab Emirates, with the terms of the deal reportedly agreed upon last Thursday:
Before we continue, I want to say it’s a good thing we got Brittney Griner out of there. That being said, Joe Biden got absolutely fleeced by Vladimir Putin and the Russian front office.
An American coming home is a win regardless, but you can easily look objectively and say WNBA player and international arms dealer that profited of the deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent people across the globe is not exactly a 1:1 trade.
And, personally, I would say the same for a large proportion of NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL, and any other men’s professional league. In all seriousness man, if Devin Booker got caught in Russia for the same thing, I still wouldn’t make that trade.
All we can hope is that Griner gets back to American soil and becomes a champion for other American citizens wrongfully detained overseas. However, I wouldn’t count on that happening either.
Plenty of people want to make it a racial or gender issue, and as a white guy I’m definitely not equipped to entirely dispute that. But at the same time, I’m paid to comment on things like this, so I’m absolutely going to.
Just look at the trending topics on Twitter and you’ll see how many feel about this transaction:
Full disclosure: Don’t even start with the whole “stick to sports narrative” that everyone will immediately reply with when we post this article because I’ll respond with a screenshot of this paragraph. If that’s the case, then you’re the asshole for not considering Brittney Griner, a WNBA star, a part of sports. The only outcome is you looking like a complete idiot.
Plus, the Biden administration was wholly unable to get Marine Paul Whelan out of prison, who has been there longer. In fairness, he is held on trumped-up espionage charges, which carry a harsher penalty and, of course, a higher price tag than just the Merchant of Death.
Whelan told CNN he is “disappointed” the Biden administration has not done more to secure his release, meaning he’s been left behind in Russia after fellow detained American Brittney Griner was freed on Thursday.
“I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four year anniversary of my arrest is coming up. I was arrested for a crime that never occurred,” he said in an exclusive phone call from the penal colony where is being held in a remote part of Russia. “I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”
In fact, it’s been reported Whelan was a non-starter and it was either Brittney Griner or nothing at all. So there wasn’t much choice in the matter.
Joe Biden said earlier today he hasn’t forgotten Paul Whelan, but again, speaking in sports terms, that’s like me saying I haven’t forgotten Mikal Bridges after losing him for Zhaire Smith in the NBA Draft.
While one half of the country will see this is a victory, when you don’t free a Marine in favor someone who has made negative comments about the United States, however founded they may be, it’s pretty easy to piss off the other half of the country.
I’m not one of the people that’s pissed off. Especially now that I realize Vin Diesel made the call unilaterally:
Memes aside, I love Brittney Griner and I wanted more coverage of her arrest when it went down. I even went and did a whole project on it. But that doesn’t distract me from the fact we got fleeced.