The image of Brittney Griner that perfectly expresses her strength and grief

The basketball player is being held in detention far from her loved ones and teammates in Russia. But there are indications that she has kept her spirit of resistance.

Brittney Griner has been virtually silent for the past five months.

The WNBA star’s influence extended beyond high-scoring games, Olympic gold medals, and fast-break dunks before she was stopped by authorities at Sheremetyevo International Airport on February 17 for allegedly carrying cannabis oil into Russia.

Griner has frequently utilized her voice to inspire and assist the public outside of sports.

After Breonna Taylor and George Floyd were killed by the police in 2020, American towns were flooded in protests. Griner utilized her notoriety to draw attention to structural problems that frequently affect underprivileged populations.

She used her platform in 2019 to raise tens of thousands of dollars for Houston, Texas, residents who had been impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which had a devastating effect on her hometown.

Additionally, she frequently collaborated with the Phoenix Rescue Mission to donate shoes to the city’s homeless population. She is an eight-time WNBA All-Star with the Mercury.

However, other from a few words made at her trial since being detained less than a week before Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine, we have seldom heard her voice (Griner says she did not intend to bring drugs into Russia and that her rights were not fully explained to her).

Even though Wednesday’s news of a potential prisoner swap between the US and Russian governments brought a rare note of hope amid her months-long detention, pictures have now taken the place of words and acted as Griner’s main form of expression.

This week’s most powerful image perfectly captured both her spirit and the pain of her being apart from her loved ones.

Griner, who was imprisoned in a Russian detention facility, smiled subtly while holding pictures of her wife Cherrelle, close friends, and teammates.

She was seen clutching a different image of WNBA players wearing her No. 42 jersey at this year’s WNBA All-Star game a few weeks earlier.

In response to the league’s choice to memorialize Griner, A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces remarked, “As we say, we are the most unified league in the world, honestly, and wearing the shirts was a message to show that we are here to support her.”

Griner’s choice to express herself through photographs conveys a more profound message about the uncertainty of her destiny.

Each picture she has is a lifeline, a guarantee of her long-term freedom. Despite being imprisoned and alone in a foreign country, she is not going through this ordeal alone.

She may spend the next ten years in a Russian prison, and friends, family, and supporters are hoping for the best.

Before being seen with the pictures of her wife and closest friends, Griner chatted briefly with an ABC News reporter.

She expressed her best wishes for her wife’s forthcoming bar exam. Griner replied, “No complaints,” when asked whether she had any.

Griner has elaborated on her defense lawyer’s assertion that the cannabis oil was utilized for therapeutic purposes during her evidence in court.

Given that the majority of US experts see her detention as a political maneuver by the Russian government during a period of heightened hostility between Washington and Moscow, it is unclear if the judge can be persuaded or if fairness was ever an option.

However, Griner is a fighter who has consistently used her abilities to dominate opponents on the court while utilizing her voice to advocate for justice and help those in need off the court.

The image demonstrates Griner’s continued struggle, her continued ability to reach out to others and the people she loves, and her continued use of her voice despite her inability to speak aloud.

A picture speaks louder than words right now because her situation makes it difficult for her to communicate with the outside world.