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Britney Griner Verdict - WNBA player, sports community reacts to 9-year sentence

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168 days after Britney Griner was arrested at an airport outside Moscow, the WNBA star was found guilty of trying to smuggle drugs into Russia and sentenced her to nine years in prison as her trial ended Thursday. declared.

A conviction and sentencing of Griner was expected, but now that the trial is over, negotiations for her release are expected to accelerate between the Russian and U.S. governments.

MORE: Greiner Convicted and Sentenced to 9 Years | Timeline

Griner was arrested and taken into custody on February 17 while en route to playing for Russian club UMMC Yekaterinburg, where he has been playing in the WNBA offseason since 2014. In early May, the US State Department declared Griner wrongfully detained, paving the way for the US to negotiate her release.

In early June, the United States secretly offered to trade convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and Paul Whelan, another Americans believed to have been wrongfully detained. However, Griner’s trial began on July 1, and Griner pleaded guilty on July 7, saying he never intended to break the law.

News of Griner’s verdict and sentencing alarmed the sports world, with many WNBA players, athletes and coaches taking to social media to react to the news.

A number of WNBA players tweeted about the impact of seeing Griner behind bars after watching the live feed of the trial and hearing the sentences being quietly translated to her.