Rally at Toyota Center to free Houston native and WNBA star Brittney Griner

The WNBA star has been detained in Russia since February 2022.

Shelley Childers Image
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Houstonians rally at Toyota Center to free WNBA star Brittney Griner
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The Nimitz High School alum has spent more than 100 days in a Russian prison after U.S. officials say she was "wrongfully detained" at an airport screening.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houstonians gathered outside the Toyota Center Monday to call for the release of Houston native and WNBA star Brittney Griner.

Since Feb. 17, the WNBA star has been detained in Russia after officials stopped her while going through airport security for allegedly having hashish oil in her luggage.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee hosted the rally with the City of Houston and NAACP Houston chapter.

The Nimitz High School and Baylor University graduate has garnered worldwide support as the efforts to have her released remain ongoing.

In an exclusive interview, Griner's wife told Good Morning America that she wanted President Joe Biden to intervene and bring Griner back.

"She's a really great person. And how she is wrongly in prison is very upsetting for me because of how I look up to her," said Nimitz High School junior Kayia Carter. "It's affected me in a way because I look up to her and potentially want to follow in her footsteps."

Griner took her Baylor University team to an national championship in 2012 and won gold at the Olympics twice.

"This is someone who ... has given everything to this city, to this state and to this country," said Mayor Sylvester Turner before proclaiming June 6, 2022 Brittney Griner Day.

The City of Houston united in a call to action for the basketball star known as "BG."

"I was wrongfully detained in Russia in 2019 and I was a prisoner there for 985 days," said U.S. Marine Trevor Reed.

He says the conditions Griner is likely living in are unimaginable to most Americans.

"It's really medieval. The food there is medieval as well," said Reed.

The rally Monday comes as Griner's detention surpasses 109 days.

"Honestly, we thought that there would be some other things happening that would have freed her by now, but that's not the case," said Bishop James Dixon, the President of the NAACP Houston chapter. "So now it's necessary for a sea of humanity to stand up and lift our voices together."

Watch local officials pay tribute to the victims of gun violence and speak on the Brittney Griner Support Rally.

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