Brittney Griner Aug 8, 2021; Saitama, Japan; United States centre Brittney Griner (15) reacts against Japan in the women’s basketball gold medal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

For those who missed it, Brittney Griner returned to WNBA competition Friday night for the first time since 2021. She was detained in a Russian prison for a minor drug offense and missed all of last season.

While the Phoenix Mercury star scoring 10 points in a preseason game was not particularly notable, it’s what she did before the game that still has people buzzing two days later.

Griner and her teammates stood for the national anthem before the game, and she shared her strong emotions about the anthem afterward.

“Hearing the national anthem, it definitely hit different,” Griner told reporters. “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.”

That sentiment is a 180-degree departure from Griner’s past comments on the anthem. She has skipped the anthem before games, and said in 2020 that, “I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season.” That came at the height of protests over George Floyd’s death.

Griner had earned the condemnation of many conservatives for taking that stance. Her change of heart now has earned the respect of many of those people.

[New York Post]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.