WNBA to honor Brittney Griner with tournament-wide floor decals
The WNBA will honor Phoenix star Brittney Griner with a floor decal and allow Mercury to pay her without counting against the team’s salary cap, the league announced Tuesday.
The All-Star Center remains in Russia after being detained after she arrived at Moscow airport on February 17. Russian authorities say a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges believed to contain extracted oil. from marijuana, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. She has a hearing on May 19.
The Biden administration determines that Griner is being wrongly detained in Russia, meaning the United States will work harder to secure her release even as the legal case against her proceeds, two US officials said on Tuesday. Officials spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss Griner’s case.
The WNBA decal will feature Griner’s initials “BG” as well as her number 42. All 12 teams will have decals on their home turf starting with the season opener on Friday night. Mercury opened their season at home that night against the Las Vegas Aces.
“As we begin the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “We continue to work to bring Brittney home and appreciate the support the community has given BG and her family during this particularly challenging time.”
The league also approved Mercury to reduce both rosters and salary caps so they can bring in a replacement until Griner returns home. Griner will be paid his full salary of nearly $228,000.
Engelbert announced at the draft of the WNBA that there would be a union-wide philanthropic initiative led by Mercury to support Griner’s charitable project, called BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive, which helps those in need. homeless people.
“Together with the league, 11 other teams and those closest to BG, we will work to keep her in mind as we prepare for the 2022 season,” said Mercury and GM Executive Vice President Jim Pitman said. “While we await her return, our main concern remains her safety and well-being. Our fans will miss out on her impact on the court. court and our community, and this gesture includes her initials on every court and our BG’s Unique Hearts and Shoes Promoting activation in every market is for them and for her. “
Griner had one of her best seasons last year – she was the league’s second-highest scorer and sixth in bounces. She helped Mercury reach the WNBA Finals, where they lost to Chicago Sky.
Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Matt Lee in Washington contributed to this report