Brittney Griner And WNBA Players Targeted In Confrontation at Dallas Airport: Urgent Call For Enhanced Safety Measures

Photo: Instagram/Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner, a prominent Women's NBA star who was released from a Russian prison in December, encountered a confrontational incident at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Saturday.

A video circulating on social media captured a man shouting at Griner and her Phoenix Mercury teammates as they were walking by, heading to Indianapolis for a game the following day. Griner, who usually travels with security and on charter flights, was accompanied by her teammates, who must take regular commercial flights.

In response to the incident, Griner's agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, released a statement emphasizing that Griner and other WNBA players are not only inspirational leaders but also targets of hate, threats, and violence. Colas called for enhanced security measures, including charter flights, to ensure the protection of these athletes, as their activism for positive change exposes them to risks.

Photo: Instagram/Brittney Griner

Griner's absence during the previous season was due to her arrest in Moscow in February 2022 when vape canisters containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage. She received a nine-year prison sentence but was freed as part of a prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia.

Griner rejoined the Mercury for the 2023 WNBA season, which began last month. However, the team has struggled, starting the season with a 1-5 record. The WNBA acknowledged that the incident was orchestrated by a social media figure and provocateur, deeming his actions inappropriate and regrettable.

The league asserted its commitment to prioritizing the safety of players, having previously collaborated with the Phoenix Mercury and Griner's team to ensure her well-being during travel. They implemented measures such as charter flights for WNBA games and assigned security personnel to accompany her at all times.

The Mercury is currently investigating the incident and working in conjunction with the league to determine the next course of action. The team expressed its dedication to the health and well-being of its players and staff, vowing to take every possible step to ensure player safety.

They reiterated their support for Griner and their ongoing advocacy for marginalized communities, standing firmly against hate and affirming that no one should live in fear for their safety, regardless of their identity.

Brianna Turner, Griner's teammate, addressed the incident on social media, emphasizing the need for player safety during travel. She criticized the presence of individuals following them with cameras and making inappropriate remarks, stressing that excessive harassment is unacceptable.

Turner revealed that the team was left feeling nervous and cornered, unsure how to proceed, and demanded better treatment. The Women's National Basketball Players Association, the league's players union, echoed the concerns and demands for improved safety measures.

They emphasized that allowing teams to fly on charter flights is solely about ensuring player health and safety. The union urged the league and teams to take immediate action to address the issue, warning that without change, similar incidents will persist.

They argued that every commercial flight imposes a threat to the health and safety of the players and called for a revision of the travel rules without delay.

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Source: Inquirer Net

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