‘Feels so good to be home!’ Brittney Griner breaks her silence after controversial prisoner swap

Brittney Griner has broken her silence after being swapped for convicted international arms dealer Viktor Bout, known worldwide as the “Merchant of Death,” to say, among other things, that she can’t wait to return to playing basketball for the WNBA this season.

The controversial athlete, who was convicted in Russia for drug smuggling and sentenced to nine years in prison, took to Instagram on Friday and thanked everyone from her fans to President Biden and her family members for pushing for her release.


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“It feels so good to be home!” she exclaimed. “The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.”

After thanking her wife, Cherelle Griner, her family, and league members, Griner offered “a special thank you to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken and the entire Biden-Harris Administration.”

Scandal surrounded the arguably unbalanced prisoner swap as outraged Americans blasted the Biden administration for handing over the man who inspired the movie “Lord of War” for Griner while leaving behind former Marine Paul Whelan, who has for four years been languishing in a Russian prison on bogus claims of espionage.

As American Wire reported, the White House claimed Biden had no choice: It was a trade for Griner, or no one would be coming home.

However, NBC released a report that contradicted the official story, alleging that Russia gave the U.S. the option of securing either Griner’s or Whelan’s return in exchange for Bout and it chose to spring Griner.

The story was quickly edited and a correction was issued claiming that NBC was mistaken and, as the White House has insisted all along, there was no option offered other than Griner.

In her Instagram post, Griner mentioned the abandoned Marine by name.

“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too,” she wrote. “I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you.”

“I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home,” she added. “Every family deserves to be whole.”

As for her future, Griner will soon once again be shooting hoops.

“I also want to make one thing very clear:” she wrote, “I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon.”

On Twitter, some wonder what Viktor Bout will be doing with his newly-found freedom.

“While I appreciate and respect that Britney [sic] Griner will play games in the WNBA his season I can’t help but wonder what ‘games’ the terrorist arms dealer she was exchanged for will be playing with his freedom,” one user tweeted. “Previously he was referred to as ‘the merchant of death’ so I can guess.”

 Republished with permission from American Wire News Service


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