Brittney Griner was an easy mark.
A Black lesbian who was only playing ball in Russia for the same reason most women work double shifts: as compared to her male counterparts, she was grossly underpaid.
Putin was looking for someone exactly like Griner.
His war against Ukraine has not been going to plan. Like most despots, he underestimated the people he sought to conquer.
The people of Ukraine — and please, let us never lose sight of the fact that these are people, just like you and me, seeking only to live out their daily lives in peace — have fought valiantly against the aggressor. They are winning. They will prevail.
Perhaps Putin felt he needed his ‘Merchant of Death’ at his side, and set up an easy exchange.
Perhaps he was simply looking to expand his antagonism.
Whatever the impetus, Griner became the target. Her 0.7 ounces of prescribed cannabis oil, accidentally packed, gave Putin just what he wanted: a prisoner whose incarceration would be so clearly unjust, it would spur the USA government to action, would reopen closed channels of communication.
And so here we are.
Brittney Griner is home. That feels to me like nothing short of a miracle. Whatever she suffered — and we know she was made to suffer — she is still alive, and has the chance to heal and move on, changed but still here. We as a society have the opportunity to consider the factors that made Griner a target in the first place, and work toward change.
What of Putin?
He is what he has always been, a small man who postures in shirtless portraits, who engages with weak ‘leaders’ and attempts to expand his empire as cowards always do, through brutality.
His is a definition of masculinity that I think the world has tired of.
I’ve had enough of the bullies, haven’t you?
Putin saw Brittney Griner as an easy mark because he lives in the past. He doesn’t understand that the world is moving forward.
We’re all evolving, and we’re enjoying it.
Welcome home, Brittney.
We are here for you, sorry for your pain, and ready to bury the dinosaurs who caused it.
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