Public reactions to Griner’s release are mixed with many people remembering US Marine veteran Paul Whelan

Whelan has been detained in Russia for four years now; Griner was detained for 294 days
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 8:38 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - On and off the internet, the public is buzzing with people sharing their thoughts on Brittney Griner’s release.

As soon as the news broke, the sports world took to twitter and other platforms to share their thoughts on the release of the WNBA star.

Some close to Griner also shared their thoughts.

“I was not expecting it, but, boy, it was, this is the best Christmas present ever,” said Debbie Jackson, Griner’s high school basketball coach.

Like her, many people publicly showed their support for Griner’s release and the trade that made it all possible.

“I woke up this morning, I heard about her release. It’s exciting, not only for her family and herself but for the city, the phoenix mercury. It’s unfortunate she was there in the first place,” said David Ramirez, a Phoenix Mercury fan.

As great of news as this is, some took the time to question the US’s execution of the trade.

Asking why Viktor Bout, a notorious arms dealer, was offered in the trade.

People are also questioning why American Marine Paul Whelan still remains detained in Russia after four years.

Notably, Cowboys football star Micah Parsons took to twitter to share his frustrations regarding Griner and Whelan.

He later cleared up his message stating that, “my last tweet was no shot at Brittney Griner. I’m super happy she’s back home as she should be.”

Robert Griffin III also mentioned Whelan’s name in a tweet but in a more positive light regarding Griner, saying “celebrate Brittney Griner coming home to her family and now let’s get Marine Paul Whelan home too.”

“I think the country did what they thought was necessary to bring her back home. We’re just excited that she’s back and we’re all rooting for her,” said Boozaziel Chávez, another Phoenix Mercury fan.

Back here in Waco, Baylor’s president praised Griner’s return but made mention of Whelan and all other wrongfully imprisoned Americans, overseas.

With Griner now on her way home, WNBA commissioner Terri Jackson had a feeling something was coming.

“What this means to the whole WNBA community to have her home safely, basketball aside by the way. This was just really emotional. I’m not an emotional person but this got me really choked up,” said Jackson.

Brittney Griner’s family expressed gratitude to President Joe Biden and his administration “for the tireless work they did to bring Brittney home” in a statement released Thursday night.

The statement added: “We sincerely thank you all for the kind words, thoughts and prayers – including Paul and the Whelan family who have been generous with their support for Brittney and our family during what we know is a heartbreaking time. We pray for Paul and for the swift and safe return of all wrongfully-detained Americans.”

Griner who is originally from Houston is expected to land in San Antonio following her release from the Russian detention center.