Dawn Staley at the Gamecocks' championship parade in April 2022. Apr 13, 2022; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks womenÕs basketball head coach Dawn Staley speaks to fans during their championship parade. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Five months after she was initially detained in Russia, WNBA and U.S. Olympic basketball star Brittney Griner remains there. Griner’s trial began Friday, but many have expressed little hope it will be fair, with Kennan Institute acting director William Pomeranz telling The New York Times‘ Jonathan Abrams and Talia Ganguli “The Russian judicial system says they really should not go to trial unless the defendant is going to be convicted. …There’s no presumption of innocence, really.” That’s added to the urgency for Griner’s family, friends, and supporters, who have been leading pressure on the U.S. government (which classified Griner as “wrongfully detained” back in May, signaling they would try to work to get her home) to make a deal to get Griner out of Russia. And Dawn Staley, the head coach of the reigning NCAA champion South Carolina Gamecocks and the head coach of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medal-winning Team USA (which included Griner), added to that pressure with a tweet Tuesday specifically asking U.S. president Joe Biden to intervene:

Here are some excerpts from that letter that Staley (seen above speaking during the Gamecocks’ championship parade in April) is referencing:

It’s certainly notable to see Staley, one of the highest-profile figures in women’s basketball, not only continue her support for Griner, but do so with a tweet tagging the president. We’ll see what happens with Griner going forwards.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.