Brittney breaks cover! WNBA star Griner enjoys MLK Jr parade in Phoenix, a month after being freed from Russian penal camp thanks to prisoner swap
- Less than six weeks after her release from a Russian prison, Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner surprised a group of people at an MLK march in Phoenix
- She appeared at event with her wife, Cherelle, and took photos with excited fans
- Griner was arrested for carrying marijuana vape cartridges through an airport in Russia in February 2021
- She spent over ten months in a Russian penal colony before being released
- Arizona, the state where the event took place, was the last state to recognize the MLK holiday in 1992, after it was made a federal holiday in 1983
Phoenix Mercury superstar, Brittney Griner, made a surprise appearance at an MLK Day march in Phoenix, just six weeks since being released from a Russian prison.
She attended the event with her wife, Cherelle, and happily posed for pictures with excited fans.
The march was held on what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 94th birthday.
Arizona was the last state to recognize MLK Jr. Day in 1992, after it was made a federal holiday by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, though it was first observed in 1986.
Less than six weeks after her release from a Russian prison, Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner surprised a group of people at an MLK march in Phoenix
Griner surprised a group of people gathered for an MLK day march in Phoenix
Griner returned to the United States with a different look, having been forced to cut her dreadlocks due to the extremely cold temperatures in Russia
Griner missed the 2021-22 WNBA season after being arrested in Russia for carrying marijuana vape cartridges through an airport in February.
She spent over ten months in a Russian penal colony and was released in a prisoner exchange for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Following Griner’s arrest at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, she pleaded guilty in July but still faced trial because admitting guilt in Russia’s judicial system does not automatically end a case.
She acknowledged in court that she possessed canisters with cannabis oil but said she had no criminal intent and she accidentally packed them. Her defense team presented written statements that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain.
Griner is shown on August 4 after pleading guilty in Russia. She was sentenced to nine years in prison, and was sent to a prison colony
Fans of the basketball star looked happy to be with her as they posed alongside on Monday
Plenty of fans got a chance to pose with the Phoenix Mercury star on Monday
Wife, Cherelle Griner posted a selection of pictures of her and Brittany at Monday’s parade
On December 9, after nearly 10 months in custody, Griner was exchanged in a prison swap (pictured left in the red) for Viktor Bout
Griner returned to the United States with a different look, having been forced to cut her dreadlocks due to the extremely cold temperatures in Russia. Since her release, she has kept a low profile.
Griner’s case brought attention to issues of inequality and injustice, something that Dr. King fought against during his lifetime.
Her presence at the MLK Day march was seen a powerful and symbolic reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality.
Griner seemed to be in good spirits as she hopped off the plane to freedom last month
Cherelle Griner, 30, held her wife, 32, extra close after she emerged from the plane in San Antonio following 294 days separated
‘I was just holding on tight. I couldn’t let her go,’ Cherelle (left) said speaking of their time apart. Brittney (right) was arrested on February 17 after she was taken into custody for carrying a vape pen that contained hash oil. She was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison colony