Cavs forward tells Joe Biden to ‘stop playing’ and make deal to free Brittney Griner

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Nick Oza / The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lamar Stevens called for President Joe Biden to free Brittney Griner from Russia after she was given a nine-year sentence on Thursday.

Lamar Stevens and Brittney Griner

Griner, a WNBA star, was found guilty of drug possession and smuggling. Her sentence is extremely harsh, and it has Stevens, among other NBA players, speaking out on her behalf.

The Phoenix Mercury center has been stuck in Russia for months after the Russian Federal Customs Service claimed it found hashish oil in her luggage.

Stevens’ plea to President Biden is certainly warranted, as the NBA, WNBA and Griner’s family and friends have been pleading with the U.S. government to try to bring her home.

Biden released a statement on Thursday following Griner’s sentencing.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” Biden’s statement read. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

Griner is a seven-time WNBA All-Star and won gold medals with the United States national team in 2016 and 2021.

The WNBA has been trying to raise awareness for Griner throughout its 2022 season. She is being paid her full salary, and the league is featuring her initials and jersey number (No. 42) on its courts.

As much as Stevens and others want Griner home, the United States must now engage in discussions with Russia in order to get her out of the country. It is unclear what the United States will need to do to free Griner now that she has been sentenced.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.