Brittney Griner’s flipped stance on National Anthem receives backlash

The WNBA star, who was incarcerated in Russia for nearly 10 months, once questioned the Star-Spangled Banner being played before games. On Friday, she was happy to hear it.

Friday marked a monumental day for Brittney Griner. Her Phoenix Mercury hosted the LA Sparks in a WNBA preseason game (90-71), which her team lost, but for her marked the end of a 572-day streak without playing a professional basketball game. Afterwards, Griner said that “hearing the National Anthem, it definitely hit different”.

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Brittney Griner can’t hold back the tears while discussing Russian detainment

The Mercury center, who was imprisoned in Russia for almost 10 months in 2022, spoke about what it meant for her to hear the United States’ anthem played before the start of the game at Footprint Center: “It’s like when you go for the Olympics, you’re sitting there, about to get gold put on your neck, the flags are going up, and the anthem is playing, it just hits different.”

‘Conservative Twitter’ called out Brittney Griner

Online, many took Griner’s stance during the George Floyd protests in 2020 to call out her potential hipocrisy. On a teleconference in July of 2020, the basketball star had said “I honestly feel we should not play the National Anthem during our season,” clarifying that she meant “no offense” to her country.

“My dad was in Vietnam and a law officer for 30 years. I wanted to be a cop before basketball. I do have pride for my country”, she said.

Brittney Griner’s newly found appreciation for the National Anthem playing before non-Olympic games made an impact in ‘conservative’ Twitter circles. With one user stating: “A little bit of Russian prison will make you a rootin’ tootin’ patriot”.

While many on social media criticized Griner for her previous stance (which was widespread in sports during the BLM protests of 2020), others applauded her. “It’s not easy to admit your views/opinions change in front of a worldwide audience. I respect her for saying that. This country has a lot of problems, but at least we live in a place where we can fix those problems, and that’s something to be proud of”, one account wrote.

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