Ace coach Becky Harmon, a former Russian Olympian, has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release WNBA star Britney Greener.
Harmon pleads with Putin to ‘do the right thing’ After Greener was arrested in February and charged last week with drug smuggling with criminal intent. Harmon was initially arrested at Moscow airport when officials said they found cannabis oil in her luggage.
Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in the Russian penal colony and fined 1 million rubles, equivalent to $16,500.
“It’s obviously happening close to home for me, so I’m just asking the Russian government to do the right thing,” Harmon told Reuters on Tuesday.
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Harmon was a six-time WNBA All-Star, played professionally in both the WNBA and Russia, and won a bronze medal for Russia at the 2008 Olympics. She joined the Spurs as an assistant coach in 2014 and was hired as the head coach of the WNBA Aces in 2022.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing. We ask for clemency. We ask for grace. We ask for BG to be brought home,” Hammon added.
The U.S. government could ultimately play a major role in the nine-year sentence that Griner is serving in Russia. The United States has been actively trying to negotiate a prisoner-of-war exchange, with Russia to be sent to convicted arms dealer Victor Bout, while the Americans will take on Greener and fellow American Paul Whelan.
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