WNBA stars boycott preseason in Russia over Brittney Griner case
During the preseason, WNBA stars usually play in the Russian league. However, due to the arrest of Brittney Griner, they will not do so this year.
Russia is one of the countries where the stars of the WNBA usually go to play during the preseason, due to the high salaries offered by the league of the country, as well as the resources they offer for the convenience of the basketball players.
However, in 2022 the players have chosen to go to another country because Brittney Griner has been detained on Russian soil since February of this year, which led to a boycott of the nation’s league.
“Honestly my time in Russia has been wonderful, but especially with BG still wrongfully detained there, nobody’s going to go there until she’s home,” said Breanna Stewart, a teammate of Griner on the Russian team.
“I think that, you know, now, people want to go overseas and if the money is not much different, they want to be in a better place.”
The boycott of Russia
Nearly a dozen WNBA players traveled in 2021 to play in the Russian league during the offseason. This year, none of them have plans to return and prefer to look for another destination.
Stewart will travel to Turkey to play for Fenerbahçe. Court Vandersloot will also not return to Russia and will instead play in Hungary, where she became a citizen in 2016. Jonquel Jones will also play in Turkey, while Rhyne Howard, WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2022, will play in Italy this winter.
Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said at the WNBA Finals that top players could earn up to $700,000 this year between base salary, marketing deals and bonus prizes.