Op-ed: We need to talk about Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner courtesy of Twitter/Brittney Griner.

By Victoria Christopher Murray

From this point forward, I will only be celebrating the return home of Brittney Griner.

But I have to first say this….

If you want to see the value of Black women in this country, just look at the reaction to this American citizen being freed. We have been freeing prisoners for decades this way. There was a big prisoner trade earlier this year from Russia — Trevor Reed for a prisoner we had here in this country who had been given twenty years in prison. There was no reaction from anyone.

But as soon as a Black woman is the prisoner who is freed, I’ve read things like this:

This is the worst sports trade in history. She’s a basketball player and he’s the Merchant of Death. What kind of trade is that? Biden was wrong!


Let me tell you something — in this instance, Brittney Griner is not a basketball player, she is an American! And our government (when we have a competent leader) always does what it can to release American prisoners from around the world. And they are released through trades.

I guarantee you that everyone, even Black women, would have been just fine with Paul Whelan coming home in this trade. Heck, most people were fine with Trump releasing 5000 members of the Taliban and then wanting to have a 9/11 summit with them at Camp David.

But Black women are valued so little, that even women who look in the mirror and see a Black face smiling back, think another Black woman is not worthy of her government fighting for her. She is not worthy to be freed. (Because after all, all she does is play basketball, so what value is there in that?)

I expect the GOP to say what they’re saying…the devil will do what the devil will do.

But to see Black women react this way, to see Black women see Brittney as a basketball player and not an American citizen, makes me cry.

Let me tell all of you, Brittney Griner was as deserving to come home as anyone who is being unlawfully detained. She’s an American! And that’s why I, as an American, am full of joy that Brittney is free!

Victoria Christopher Murray is a New York Times Bestselling author and social justice commentator.