Complaining About the Brittney Griner Deal is Racist and anti-LGBTQ

Lucinda Gunnin
3 min readDec 8, 2022

A lot of people are complaining about the deal President Joe Biden made to free WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner.

The President announced the prisoner exchange of a Russian arms dealer for Griner this morning and almost immediately people started denouncing the president for bringing Griner home and leaving Paul Whelan behind.

Most of those complaining have no idea what either of Paul Whelan or Brittney Griner were accused of, what they were sentenced to, and why it matters. Almost all of the complaints are focused on the idea that Griner is a minority athlete and Whelan is a white former Marine.

They aren’t even good at hiding their racism.

But let’s outline the differences in the cases just to make it super clear.

Griner was carrying less than 1 ounce of medical marijuana, in the form of a vape cartridge, when she was detained by Russian customs. This was PRESCRIBED by a doctor in her home state of Arizona.

Let that sink in for just a minute: She was carrying prescription medication into a country where she had been hired to work and got arrested for it. This is the equivalent of being arrest for carrying in ANY prescription pain killer. She was convicted of smuggling and sentenced to 9 years in prison.

She was arrested just a week before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, 2022, and is openly lesbian. She has also provoked some controversy by standing with Black Lives Matter and refusing to be on court during the playing of the American national anthem.

Paul Whelan is a Canadian-born former U.S. Marine who was working as a security director for a Michigan auto parts manufacturer when he was arrested in December, 2018, and charged with espionage.

Whelan holds citizenship in three countries, including the United States, Ireland and Great Britain. In 2020 he was convicted of spying and sentenced to 16-years in prison. While serving as Marine in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Wheelan was convicted at a court martial of attempting to steal more $10,000 and of falsely creating computer records to grade his own exams. He received a bad conduct discharge.

While in Russia, he had $80,000 in cash that was confiscated and was later arrested. His family claimed he said he was good friends with a Russian FSB agent and knew a lot about that person’s…

Lucinda Gunnin

Lucinda Gunnin is a commercial property manager and author in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She’s a news junky, sushi addict, and geek extraordinaire.