Megan Rapinoe has thrown her support behind detained WNBA star Brittney Griner, calling on everyone to “do more” in helping her get released.
Griner is currently sitting behind bars in a Russian jail after pleading guilty to drug smuggling when she was allegedly found carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.
Since her arrest, a number of big-name sports figures have been urging U.S. authorities to continue negotiation with Russia in bid to free her.
Now footballer Rapinoe has shared her thoughts, using her acceptance speech at the ESPYs to demand more action, admitting “we haven’t done enough”.
“I think honestly what we’ve witnessed tonight is the importance of sport and how much we can bring and how much we can get done in the world just with our collective power,” Rapinoe said.
“For me, the most striking thing is that BG [Brittney Griner] isn’t here… BG deserves to be free.
“Listen, I don’t think I’m being political but I don’t mind being political, but I do love to get political.
“Every time we see BG’s face, every time we say her name, it puts pressure on everyone, it puts pressure on the administration, puts pressure on Russia., it puts pressure on Putin.
“It also lets BG know that we love her, we miss her and we’re doing every single thing we can to get her out.
“Like, what are we doing here dressed up like we are when our sister is detained abroad?
“We haven’t done enough, none of us. We can do more, we can support her more and just let her know that we love her so much.”
Credit: AlamyRapinoe’s comments left fans divided.
Applause broke out during her awards speech with some of the biggest and best athletes in the world clearly acknowledging her remarks.
But on social media, it was another story.
When SportsCenter posted a clip of the passionate plea up on Twitter, users were quick to chime in.
One person tweeted: “Don’t break the law.”
While another said: “Turned my TV off.”
As a third added: “For starters, if she did the crime, she does the time.”
And one social media user concluded: “Not gonna lie, we absolutely don’t care.”
Rapinoe wasn’t the only sports star to highlight Griner’s absence from the ESPYs though with recently-crowned NBA champion Steph Curry wearing her No.42 jersey.
“We also need to acknowledge one who isn’t here,” co-host Curry said on the broadcast.
“Her name is right here on this jersey.”