The arrest of Britney Greene in Russia was briefly explained

Britney Greene is arguably the biggest WNBA star ներից one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Standing at 6 feet 9, it’s hard to miss his skill on and off the court.

“He’s like no one who has ever played, he has mastered all the levels he has ever played,” said ESPN investigative reporter TJ Quinn in an explanatory podcast on Vox’s daily news. Today, he explained. “And then he also became a kind of cultural icon. For her sexuality and mental health issues. He has become someone who is truly more than just an athlete for the people who follow him. ”

But like many WNBA players, the lack of equal pay prompted him to play in Russia, where he is currently being held after security guards at Moscow airport found cannabis oil in his luggage. Now, the US State Department is stepping up the heat to release the Greens. This episode Today, he explained explores what might be required to bring him home. A partial transcript of our conversation, edited for length և for simplicity, below.

TJ Quinn

Britney Greener is one of the greatest players in the history of her game. He was the player of the best high school in the country. He signed with Baylor, where he won the national title, the All-American, WFBA 1st overall draft, when he was promoted to the professional, perennial All-Star. Its size stands out. And he plays a kind of physical, dominant game, both “defensive” and “offensive”, which stands out. But he does play games, which is not common in the WNBA.

Sean Ramesvaram

So it is fair to say that he is one of the best players in the WNBA.

TJ Quinn

One of the best players in the history of basketball.

Sean Ramesvaram

What is one of the best players in the history of basketball in Russia doing?

TJ Quinn

Women who play in the WNBA, which is the highest level of basketball in that sport, can earn a maximum of several hundred thousand dollars. There is a high salary threshold for what they can do. There are limited marketing opportunities for women playing professional basketball. But in Russia, as in many countries in Europe and the Middle East, he can earn more than a million dollars by playing for one of the oligarchs’ teams. So there is this long story of WNBA players earning something that would be a good salary for most people, but really low for their skills, going to Russia, Turkey, where they get a much higher salary. And so he spends his off-season earning three or four, sometimes five times the salary he could get in the United States playing in Russia.

Sean Ramesvaram

So let’s talk about how Britney Greener was arrested in Russia. Where does that story start?

TJ Quinn

It starts on February 17, when he flew there, as he repeatedly did, and landed at the airport outside Moscow.

You are watching the video published by the customs officers, he passes the luggage check as usual. And then he gets off the line. What will happen after that is debatable.

In fact, he did not say it in one way or another, nor did his representatives. And since then he was under arrest, but in this country there was no attention to it. Russia did not announce about that. They had a very low grade. Its representatives were in direct contact with the US State Department almost immediately. And the advice given to them by the State Department was the following. This can go in two directions. Russia has, at least nominally, a criminal justice system. It is quite obviously corrupt, subject to one person, Vladimir Putin’s government, but there is one, it works. And as long as they do not imagine how they treat him, it is better that you underestimate him. ” Because the other way is that if he becomes too valuable, if he gets too much attention, then he is potentially active for Putin, for his government, for something they want to trade with. And that was not the way you wanted to be.

They followed the advice of the State Department and kept it very low, until about three weeks later, in early March, the Russian customs officers announced it. And when we heard in this country that he had been brought in, there was a reaction from the media. “One second. “How can one of the best athletes in the world be in custody for more than two weeks? Nobody knew about it.” And it was intentional.

They really wanted to keep a low rating. He has lawyers there who are trying to see. “Can we solve this through the criminal justice system?” ” People who support Britney Greene are saddened by the inequality of women in sports in this country. But in this one case, this is where it is in their favor, because they felt: Because if he actually becomes Putin’s hostage, then you are in a whole new world.

Sean Ramesvaram

As I recall, as it came very close to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it seemed as if Russia might be trying to gain some leverage over the United States by potentially detaining this stellar athlete for having cannabis oil on her.

TJ Quinn

It is entirely possible. And the people behind Russia immediately thought about the fact that Russian law enforcement was planting drugs to arrest people. Here is what they do. And the war had not started, but the invasion had not started yet on February 17, they knew it was coming. So for those who are inclined to think this is a post, the pieces are there. There is a history of Russia doing that.

The fact that she is high-class, easily recognizable, the fact that she is also a 6-foot-9 lesbian, which is a warning to all good Russian mothers in Putin’s Russia. – They knew there was a motivation, that he was a potential chip that he could exchange for something if they wanted to.

But there are also a number of people who say: He was arrested. It is quite possible that he did it. And just because they politicize it, or that they may be willing to trade for it, does not necessarily mean that he did not actually commit the crime he was accused of. Who knows? “But did you know that at some point it became clear to the US government that Russia was open to business, that they did not have to wait a year for it to go to court, that it was time to move on?

Sean Ramesvaram

So mom is the word everyone knows. But now we are here, almost 80 days later. Do we know what Britney’s experience was like? Has he been able to make this public?

TJ Quinn

He has none at all. The only contact with him was his representatives with lawyers. US consular officials were able to visit him in March and say he was OK. What I hear from people around him is that he is good considering: I mean, he’s in prison in a foreign country. He does not speak the language. It is supposed that there are people around him who speak English. He has reading material. There were reports that it was difficult to find a comfortable bed, which would be reasonable. he’s 6 feet 9 և that he does well considering. But there is no way to check it yourself.

Just imagine that you will be at the beginning of the season and the biggest player in the game is not there. You can not suddenly assume that Baby Ruth or Michael Jordan or someone just is not there. And it was hard for the players who wanted to raise their voices, but now they know they have some freedom to start doing it.

You saw a certain increase in how much they talked about him. A few weeks ago in the WNBA Draft, the first statement made by the commissioner was about Britney Green. And just last week there was a discussion about labeling the floor of the games. And these are all intentional. It’s strategic to start slowly getting the attention his job deserves.

Sean Ramesvaram

And the US government is talking about him now.

TJ Quinn

That was the big change. The people around him were just waiting for permission or a sign that now was the time to really start shouting.

When talking about protests, one should think. Who are you really complaining about or are you trying to exert public pressure on Vladimir Putin? Because it probably won’t work. This is someone who started an invasion, united most of the world against him, was subjected to the greatest sanctions in geopolitical history, it did not change him. Thus, it seems unlikely that the hashtag will affect what he does.

The real pressure they want to create is on the US government. to try to force the White House և to make the State Department a priority, to make a deal բերել to bring it home. And this is where you see some tension. The families of Britney Greene նախկին former US Marine Trader Reed, who was [detained in Russia] They have just come home for more than two years – they have one goal – to bring their loved ones home.

The US government has many goals. One is trying to bring those Americans back, the other two, not to set a precedent that they fear will endanger more Americans by creating incentives. And three, to serve greater geopolitical interests. And what [the families] They want to put as much pressure on the US government as possible. And the feeling that if they can put it first in Joe Biden’s mind … it would be great if the President of the United States or his Chief of Staff Ron Klein would call the State Department and say: , “What’s happening?” It can be the pressure that puts things forward.

Listen to the full episode Today, he explained Wherever you get podcasts.

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