WNBA superstar Brittney Griner faced a traumatic few months after she was arrested and spent 10 months in Russian captivity when authorities found a small amount of prescription cannabis oil in her luggage at the airport. But after the difficult situation, she’s now back. And when she made her emotional return to the basketball court for a WNBA preseason game on Friday, there was one moment that was particularly special to her: the national anthem.
Following the preseason showdown with the Los Angeles Sparks, Brittney Griner was asked about how she was feeling as she made her return to the court for her first competitive game in 18 months after the traumatic experience in Russia, where she essentially served as a political prisoner.
In response to the question, Griner opened up about what it meant to hear The Star Spangled Banner play before the game.
“Hearing the national anthem, it definitely hit different,” Griner said according to ABC News. “It’s like when you go for the Olympics, you’re sitting there, about to get gold put on your neck, the flags are going up and the anthem is playing, it just hits different.
“Being here today … it means a lot.”
This is particularly surprising given that Griner once suggested that the national anthem should no longer be played before sporting events. And her recent comments drew plenty of reactions on Twitter.
Privileged basketball player Brittney Griner, who once argued that the National Anthem shouldn’t be played, has finally found some respect for her great country.
On Friday evening, Griner spoke out after she stood for the National Anthem.
"Hearing the national anthem, it… pic.twitter.com/2dIrdtKsld
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) May 13, 2023
Griner in 2020: "I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season. I think we should take that much of a stand."
Glad to hear the change of heart https://t.co/KxXWL4wNlF
— Zachary Faria (@ZacharyFaria) May 13, 2023
It's too bad it took going to a Russian prison for 10 months get her to realize how grateful she should be for all amazing opportunities this country provides her, but if that is what it takes, that is what it takes. Our country isn't perfect by any means, but it is definitely… https://t.co/UWRzlHhxMC
— Branden Durst, MPA, EdS (@brandendurst) May 13, 2023
In her return to the WNBA Friday, Brittney Griner stood for the National Anthem.
Did she have a sudden change of heart?https://t.co/a4DA98dNnl
— OutKick (@Outkick) May 14, 2023
Good for Brittney ❤️🇺🇸‼️ https://t.co/RwIyt1n2bO
— Stacylee Nolan (@stacyleeamato) May 13, 2023
Griner will play her first regular season game since her return on Friday in a nationally televised showdown with the Los Angeles Sparks.