Brittney Griner’s shoe drive to help the homeless raises a record amount of donations thanks to Phoenix Mercury teammates scrambling to continue the effort while she’s jailed in Russia for drug trafficking
- Brittney Griner’s Heart & Sole Shoe Drive of BG collected over 3,200 pairs of shoes and raised more than $27,000 for charity thanks to her WNBA teammates
- Griner, who previously played in Russia, was arrested in Moscow on February 17
- She had illegal cannabis cartridges in Russia in her luggage
- On August 4, she was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony
- President Biden vowed to do “everything he can” to bring her home and claimed she was “wrongly” convicted
- Negotiations on a prisoner swap between the US and Russia are underway
- Griner would be traded with the arms dealer Viktor Bout, the dealer of death
The Phoenix Mercury announced that Brittney Griner’s Shoe Drive raised a record amount of donations this year.
Though she remains jailed in Russia for drug trafficking, Griner’s teammates have continued to ensure her presence will not be forgotten in either the league or the community.
The most recent attempt to do so was to arrange for BG’s Heart & Sole Shoe Drive to continue in her absence.
Mercury’s announcement said that this year’s promotion raised more than 3,200 pairs of shoes and raised over $27,000 to benefit the Phoenix Rescue Mission.
In the past four years of the campaign’s existence, only around 2,000 pairs of shoes have been collected, so this year’s 3,200 marks represent a sustained increase.
Griner’s motivation for starting the ride in 2016 was diminished by the fact that homeless people endured the unenviable heat of the Phoenix summer barefoot.
Since joining Mercury in 2013, Griner has received multiple WNBA Community Assist Awards for her impact in the region.
Brittney Griner’s Shoe Drive (left) raised a record number of donations this year
Phoenix Mercury star Griner is currently jailed in Russia for drug trafficking
Mercury WNBA players and coaches have not shied away from supporting Griner throughout the season and have called for freedom on multiple occasions to become the No. 1 overall pick in 2013.
During her nine-year career with Phoenix, Griner averaged 17.7 points and 7.6 rebounds.
She has also won two Olympic gold medals competing with Team USA.
Regarding her case, Griner’s attorneys have appealed her nine-year Russian sentence for drug possession.
Griner with her wife, Cherelle, who has been begging for help at the White House for months
Alysha Clark wears a “We Are BG” t-shirt for the team prior to Game 1 of the WNBA Basketball Playoff Series First Round. The Mercury have worn We Are BG jerseys throughout the season
The appeal comes after she pleaded guilty and said she made an “honest mistake” in entering Russia with cannabis oil, which is illegal in the country. She was sentenced on August 4.
There are ongoing US-Russia talks to swap Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who has been imprisoned in the US since 2010.
A source close to the negotiations told DailyMail.com that the notice from Griner’s team was “procedural” and that they would not be surprised if Griner was released from prison “within a week.” This was on August 15th.
President Biden said he would do “everything” to get Griner out of prison immediately after her conviction, claiming she was “wrongly” imprisoned.
It’s unclear whether the deal still includes Paul Whelan, who has been jailed in Russia since 2018 on espionage charges
It’s unclear whether or not Paul Whelan, an American citizen who has been in prison in Russia since 2018, is part of the deal.
The US had been pushing for a deal that would include both Griner and Whelan. Now that she has been convicted in a Russian court, her influence is weaker.
“Russians might think Whelan is too much now…after today, his place in the deal is not so secure,” the source said.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/sportsnews/article-11167601/Brittney-Griners-shoe-drive-collects-record-donations-thanks-Phoenix-Mercury.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Brittney Griner’s Shoe Drive raises record donations thanks to Phoenix Mercury