Brittney Griner's Prison Sentence Sends Shockwaves Through Twitter

All eyes have been on Brittney Griner since she was arrested in Russia in February. Griner was in Moscow playing in an off-season Russian basketball league. However, she was apprehended by authorities as soon as she landed in Moscow, having left briefly for a trip to Puerto Rico, per NBC New York. At the time of her arrest, Russian officials claimed she was carrying vape pen cartridges containing marijuana — an illegal substance in Russia.

Griner spent the next several months in prison awaiting trial as her case became an international sensation. There was little hope that she would receive a fair trial in Russia, whether or not she was guilty of the alleged crimes. Instead, Griner's only hope of returning to her wife and team in the U.S. was likely through a prison exchange initiated by President Joe Biden, per The Washington Post. Russia's attack on Ukraine complicated the already icy relationship between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. After much back and forth and speculation about what Biden might do, and emotional messages from Griner to her wife, nothing happened and Russia moved forward with the legal process.

Griner pled guilty to the charges in July, and by August, Griner had been sentenced. But the verdict and the sentencing have enraged her fans and supporters around the world.

Brittney Griner is in a tough spot

Fans and loved ones were outraged to learn that Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison colony after pleading guilty to drug charges, per The New York Times. Furious fans took to Twitter show their support for the WNBA star. "They Violated Brittney Griner, 9 Years In Russia Prison Is Ludicrous," tweeted one supporter. "Brittney Griner being sentenced to 9 years is absolutely insane and makes me feel so sick for her and her family," wrote another. Yet another fan echoed the general sentiment more succinctly with "this is f**king insane."

Though Griner has now been sentenced to the aforementioned nine years in a penal colony, plus an additional 9 million ruble fine (roughly $16,000), unlike the U.S. penal system, there is very little hope for an appeal or overturning a verdict in Russia. Just like before the sentencing, Griner's hope still lies with President Joe Biden and the State Department's ability to strike a deal with Russia, thereby securing her release, according to The New York Times.

The White House released a brief statement about the sentencing, saying that Griner's detainment and prison sentence was wrong. Per the statement, Biden claims his office will keep working to bring Griner home. However, that did little to calm the Twitter mob, which continues to call on the White House to negotiate the WNBA star's release.