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NFL player Micah Parsons apologizes for tweet over Brittney Griner’s release

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner was escorted to a courtroom for a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow in July.Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press

US politicians and WNBA players are rejoicing the news that Brittney Griner has been released in a prisoner swap with Russia.

Griner, a star player for the Phoenix Mercury, had been detained since mid-February after Russian customs officials said they found trace amounts of cannabis oil in vape cartridges in her bag. She had been in Russia to play during the Women’s National Basketball Association’s off-season, a common practice for WNBA players looking to supplement their salaries which are much lower than those of the men’s league players.

Vice President Kamala Harris, Griner’s teammates and others in the league all weighed in on the news.


Here’s a look at their reactions:

Micah Parsons

Parsons, an NFL player for the Dallas Cowboys, apologized for an initial tweet in which he expressed disappointment that Paul Whelan, an American who has been detained in Russia for nearly four years, was not included as part of the deal to bring Griner home.

“Wait nah!! We left e marine?!! Hell nah” he wrote.

He later apologized, writing: “I should have been more educated on the topic and not tweeted out of emotion for my family and other who have served.”

Vice President Kamala Harris

“While we celebrate Brittney’s homecoming, we remain committed to seeing Paul Whelan released. We will not relent in our efforts until Paul is home with family. We will not stop working to bring home every U.S. citizen wrongfully detained.”

Former president Barack Obama

Obama in a statement said he was “grateful for the long-overdue release” of Griner, and gave credit to the Biden administration for the trade. “We’re looking forward to having Brittney back home,” he said

Phoenix Mercury

Sue Bird

Brianna Turner

“Just in time for the holidays,” fellow Mercury player Brianna Turner noted. “Over 270 days filled with uncertainty and impatience, but hype it was worked out.”

Kaela Davis

Davis, also a Mercury player, said Griner “endured what no person could possibly imagine.”


Women’s National Basketball Players Association

The Women’s National Basketball Players Association, the union for WNBA players, offered a brief reflection. Representatives for the union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monique Currie

Currie, who retired from the Washington Mystics in 2019, thanked people who kept attention on Griner’s plight.

LaTosha Brown

Brown, the co-founder of the advocacy group Black Voters Matter, highlighted similar work by Black women advocates.

Hillary Clinton

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the trade “just incredibly good news.”