Six-time NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is calling on Brittney Griner’s supporters to put pressure on Russia, not the U.S. government, to release the WNBA All-Star and other imprisoned Americans in Russian captivity. On Tuesday the NBA legend published a lengthy blog post suggesting that while well-intentioned, the public outcry on behalf of the Houston native could actually hurt her chances for freedom.
Abdul-Jabbar argued that in other instances, such public pressure would make sense, but not in Griner’s situation. “If a social rights activist is being imprisoned in Selma for protesting or there’s a shady police shooting of an unarmed Black person in New York, then such celebrity calls to action might be effective,” he wrote. “That’s because we live in a country where those in power need votes and sometimes shining a spotlight on them can bring power.”
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