WNBA star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for 278 days, and, according to Michael Eric Dyson it’s because she’s queer and Black. The acclaimed author and scholar was a guest on “Drink Champs,” with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN.
Why Did Russian Government Send WNBA Star To Prison?
Griner was convicted of deliberately smuggling drugs into Russia and sentenced to nine years in prison back in August. The drugs in question were cannabis vape cartridges, containing less than a gram of cannabis oil.
Dyson believes Griner’s sexual orientation and that she is Black is not doing her any favors in this situation.
“There is no question that if she weren’t a woman who challenged the sexual norms. … She’s married to a woman, but she’s a dominant ball player. She’s a phenomenal cultural icon. Even LeBron had to admit it,” shared Dyson. “This Black woman, had she been anybody else — even a straight Black woman would’ve received more support than a queer Black woman with a Black wife.”
Russian president Vladimir Putin is an autocrat and has been pushing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric for decades. His position is just like what we hear from the right in this country in the ongoing culture wars.
“Do we really want us, here in our country, in Russia, instead of ‘mom and dad,’ to have ‘parent number 1, number 2, number 3’?” Putin asked. “They’ve gone totally crazy! Do we really want perversions that lead to degradation and extinction to be imposed on children in our schools, in elementary grades? To be drummed into them that besides women and men, there are supposedly some ‘genders’?
“If Western elites believe that they can indoctrinate their societies with strange … newfangled trends like dozens of genders and gay Pride parades,” Putin said, “then so be it, let them do what they want. But what they certainly do not have the right to do is to require others to follow in the same direction.”
Michael Eric Dyson Says Vladimir Putin Hates Blacks, Women and Gays
Griner being queer, Black and a woman is a trifecta of things people like Putin despise. So Dyson’s assertion has a lot of merit.
Given what her actual crime was, she could’ve easily been released with a warning and without geopolitical machinations.
Putin is anti-West and what America allows its citizenry. Griner is the literal manifestation of a power Putin would rather not see the people of Russia have. So it’s safe to say her punishment is being done so to set an example and send a message.
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov recently said there was new activity between Russia and the U.S. in terms of Griner’s release.
“We haven’t found common ground yet, but, undoubtedly, Viktor Bout is among those being discussed and obviously we are hoping for a positive result,” Ryabkov reportedly said. “The Americans are showing certain activity and we are working on this through appropriate channels.”
U.S. officials, however, paint a different picture.
“We are not going to comment on the specifics of any proposals other than to say that we have made a substantial offer that the Russian Federation has consistently failed to negotiate in good faith,” the statement said. “The U.S. Government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with the Russian government. The Russian government’s failure to seriously negotiate on these issues in the established channel, or any other channel for that matter runs counter to its public statements.”
We will soon be approaching a year that Griner has been detained, and there doesn’t seem to be any momentum for Griner to be released.