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NBA star LeBron James Tuesday night clarified comments he made about Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia, saying he wasn’t “knocking our beautiful country.”
The Los Angeles Lakers player had said in the trailer for the latest episode of “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” released Tuesday, that he wondered if Griner, a WNBA player for the Phoenix Mercury, would question if the United States has her back since the government hasn’t gotten her out of confinement.
“Now, how can she feel like America has her back? I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even wanna go back to America?’” James said in the trailer.
Griner was arrested in February at an airport near Moscow for allegedly having hashish oil in a vape cartridge in her luggage. She pleaded guilty last Thursday. Griner plays in Russia in the off–season to make money.
“My comments on ‘The Shop’ regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country,” James tweeted Tuesday night. “I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome.”
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, spoke on the phone with President Biden this week, who called to “reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world,” the White House said.
The U.S. State Department has said getting Griner out of Russia remains a “top priority” for the administration.
Griner was arrested just before Russia invaded Ukraine, complicating her situation since the U.S. has levied serious sanctions on Russia over the war.