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Griner stands out in the WNBA as an activist both on and off the court. She has led efforts for equality and inclusion within her league, while also championing mental health awareness. But her long-term detention in Russia raises important questions about intersectionality, race, and gender relations, as well as inequities regarding how men and women are treated in criminal justice systems. The Impact of Brittney Griner’s Activism on and off the Court Brittney Griner's activism has had a tremendous impact on basketball. She has long been an outspoken leader of LGBTQ community members and social justice issues, fighting tirelessly for them for years. Her activism stands as evidence of an emerging cultural shift within sports; more players, coaches, and leagues are speaking up against anti-Black racism and injustices within sports leagues and leagues today than ever before. Griner defied advice from her coach at Baylor University to keep her sexuality concealed, coming out as gay and becoming the first openly gay athlete in the WNBA and also receiving sponsorship from Nike. Through her activism she has enabled young queer women to come out without fear of institutional power structures. Griner's activism has had an effect on professional sports teams such as WNBA and others, providing them with a platform to address anti-Black racism, violence against women and more. She has provided them with the chance to address such issues within their culture of play. WNBA players have been prominent voices against police brutality. Many WNBA games feature protests during games against police brutality; additionally, the organization holds 26 second moments of silence during national anthem before each matchup. Griner was among many players on opening night of the Women's National Basketball Association who used social media to advocate against police brutality in their communities. She chose not to stand during the national anthem but instead exited during warmups as an act of protest against police brutality. Griner is a proud Black woman and her activism speaks volumes of that pride. She has long championed Black LGBTQ sisters by encouraging them to remain strong and achieve success. Her activism serves as an inspiration to young people, particularly those who have been bullied or oppressed within their communities, while at the same time uniting those who may have become divided. As a Black woman and LGBTQ person herself, Griner understands the challenges associated with being LGBTQ and has experienced discrimination and bullying first-hand - leaving her determined to advocate on their behalf in society. As she was arrested in Russia, she understood she was being targeted by individuals seeking to harm her. Additionally, she understood the geopolitical context - with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and increased tensions with the US as examples - in which this incident unfolded. Griner's arrest in Russia has served as an eye-opener to American sports fans and politicians alike, serving as a reminder that American society undervalues women and lesbians who participate in professional sports, while gender pay inequity remains an ongoing problem for athletes across the nation. WNBA has done well to fight this issue and raise awareness for gender pay disparity within sports industry, however there remain significant obstacles that must be addressed. The Impact of Brittney Griner’s Activism on the Court Griner has become one of the world's most acclaimed LGBTQ athletes thanks to her extraordinary personal story and use of her platform as an advocate against various racial and social injustices; indeed, her activism helped shape her into becoming one of WNBA's elite players today. Over the years, she's taken a strong stand against police brutality and advocated for LGBT equality. Through her activism, the WNBA has become an innovative leader in terms of social justice initiatives while setting an example for other sports leagues to follow. She has worked to combat voter suppression and raise awareness on gun violence. Additionally, she donated to an LGBT youth center in Phoenix that was destroyed by arson. Now, she is detained in a country which does not support LGBTQ rights, putting her activism to the test. Additionally, this issue has raised awareness regarding America's failure to support its own citizens abroad adequately. Her case has drawn the attention of other US-based WNBA players who have also been wrongfully detained, leading to demands that the US government revisit their policies towards LGBTQ individuals in countries that traditionally aren't supportive. Political debate over her detention aside, her activism has inspired other WNBA players. Her influence has encouraged them to stand up for themselves and their fellow citizens; several held shoe drives for her cause or wrote letters in her name to her or got famous friends to help spread her message. Advocates of her release have done so with love, dedication and passion; they have stood up for her rights, so it would only be appropriate that their work should be recognized and rewarded accordingly. They have successfully made an impactful case to the NBA, WNBA and US Congress about issues they believe in and pushed government to fulfill its duties while remaining committed to her safety. The WNBA has proven the value of having players who are outspoken about their beliefs, especially within a sports league that has historically discriminated against minority players. This year's effort to free Griner was one of its biggest tests, and thanks to pressure applied by her teammates she is finally free from Russian prison after nine months behind bars. Brittney Griner is not the first American woman held captive in Russia, but her experience is particularly upsetting - being held by a government which doesn't want her back is no small matter. She was recently sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony, and her family is concerned that she has been sent somewhere with harsh living conditions for prisoners. Furthermore, they've been unable to contact her regularly in order to monitor her mental wellbeing. Her case has shed new light on how US media devalue women's professional basketball, as well as being a reminder of how LGBTQ people worldwide can often find themselves marginalized by their governments.