ESPN has a programming component called “Instant Classics” which are sporting events that we want to watch again because of their excitement.
Sports are a part of the American culture. That is how it has always been and will always be.
As ABC commentator Jim McKay said years ago, it is “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
The story of Brittney Griner captured our attention, primarily because of her detention and subsequent jailing in a Russian prison.
Her release last week created instant happiness for her family, friends, and simply all of us.
Finally, after 294 days of mental agony and anxiety, she was released.
Sporting groups and Americans of different stripes had their radars tuned in to what was happening with Griner.
President Biden, in his press conference announcing her release, stated that she was safe on an airplane and headed home.
Waking up to this verified news that she was free was a gift from above.
The prayers of the faithful were answered, and as we know, He is always on time.
You must believe in the power of prayer, because it does change things. It always has.
Brittney Griner landed in San Antonio, TX on last Friday morning, and is now undergoing various tests, both physically and mentally.
During the talks about getting Brittney Griner out of jail, there were also simultaneous talks about getting Paul Whelan out of a Russian prison as well.
The former U.S. Marine was accused of spying and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
David Whelan, his twin brother said, “He is probably as well as you could be in a Russian labor camp.”
The United States is continuing to advocate and to negotiate for his release.
Now that Brittney Grier has been released, we’ll have to wait and see what the next steps in her career and life will be.
She has a long list of WNBA honors and awards, including being a champion as a WNBA player and as an Olympian.
She may take the route of Maya Moore, former WNBA, and Olympic champion, who stopped playing basketball in 2018.
Moore is now a social justice advocate, who is helping to free innocent people who are in prison.
I would, like many others, want to see Brittney Griner continue to play basketball, yet that is solely her decision.
Phoenix Mercury president, Vince Kozar said, “If she never plays another game of basketball, another minute of WNBA basketball again, we will still love her and care for her just the same.”
Brittney Griner and other WNBA players play overseas during the offseason.
Sandy Brondello, longtime coach of Brittney Griner said on MSNBC, “I do not think Americans will go back to Russia and play and they shouldn’t.”
While the money may be good in some parts of the international community, is it worth the risk of being detained and jailed?
My answer is no!
The Brittney Griner case has brought much needed attention to other Americans who are being held against their will in foreign countries.
So, as the Christmas season approaches, let us be thankful for the release of Brittney Griner.
We will, as a country, keep pushing and pulling for the immediate release of Paul Whelan and others who are illegally detained in countries for no legitimate reason.
Brittney Griner is now with her family, friends, and loved ones. We want the same for all political prisoners.
Remember, the fervent prayers of the righteous will prevail in the end. That is what the Good Book says, and I believe it.