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WNBA star Brittney Griner was released on Thursday in a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Moscow after being imprisoned in Russia for 294 days.
Griner, who was detained at a Russian airport after authorities allegedly found vape cartridges with trace amounts of cannabis oil in her luggage, was let go in exchange for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Her freedom was celebrated by her family, friends and teammates, among others, who have been pushing for her return. Dawn Staley, former head of the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team and current head coach for the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team, is among those who have been advocating to keep Griner’s case in the spotlight, often wearing jerseys and pins with Griner’s number, or the words “We Are BG.”
In an interview with the PBS NewsHour, Staley said she “cried tears of joy” when she heard the news of Griner’s release.
“To know that she’s coming home is a weight that’s lifted,” she said.
Watch Staley’s full interview in the player above.
Gretchen Frazee is a Senior Coordinating Broadcast Producer for the PBS NewsHour.
Courtney Norris is the deputy senior producer of national affairs for the NewsHour. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @courtneyknorris
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