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The Phoenix Suns announced Tuesday they would keep decals on the court honoring Brittney Griner throughout the playoffs as she remains detained in Russia.
The WNBA said last week the decal “BG 42” would be on all 12 courts this season. The Suns appeared to be the first NBA team to throw support behind Griner in any way.
Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates during Game Four of the 2021 WNBA Finals on October 17, 2021 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
“One family. #WeAreBG,” the Suns tweeted.
“Honoring Brittney Griner on our court for the remainder of the playoffs.”
The Suns and Mercury played in the same arena, the Footprint Center, and are owned by the same person, Robert Sarver.
Phoenix Mercury fan Anna Oyerbides wears a “#FreeBG” button referring to Brittney Griner before a WNBA basketball game between the Mercury and the Las Vegas Aces, Friday, May 6, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
The U.S. State Department determined Russia “wrongfully detained” the Phoenix Mercury center when she was arrested in February, an official said in a statement to Fox News Digital last week.
She’s expected to have a hearing in Russia May 19. She’s accused of trying to bring vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis through a Moscow airport. She faces a decade in prison if convicted.
“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is among the highest priorities of the U.S government,” a State Department spokesperson said. “The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner.
“With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release.”
Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner pauses on the court during the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Seattle Storm, Sept. 3, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Fox News Digital also confirmed Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico and a U.S. ambassador for the Clinton administration, agreed to help work on the Griner case. Richardson helped secure the release of American journalist Danny Fenster from a Burmese prison in November.
Griner’s family requested Richardson and the Richardson Center to work on her behalf to secure her return to the U.S.