It’s been over half a year since Brittney Griner was released from a Russian prison as part of a prisoner exchange. Since then, Griner has returned to playing for the Phoenix Mercury, the team for which she has played her entire professional career in the U.S. You would think that someone encountering Griner in the world would express some understanding and compassion for someone in her position, given that Russian penal colonies are not known for being the most hospitable places in the world.
It’s fair to say that most people would, in fact, have this reaction. Unfortunately, there’s also YouTube personality and BlazeTV host Alex Stein, who took it on himself to harass Griner and she and her teammates walked through Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Saturday.
Writing at the Arizona Republic, Jenna Ortiz provided a good overview of the incident, which prompted Griner’s teammate Brianna Turner to address the incident and condemn those who had carried it out.
“Player safety while traveling should be at the forefront. People following with cameras saying wild remarks is never acceptable,” Turner said. “Excessive harassment. Our team nervously huddled in a corner unsure how to move about. We demand better.”
Apparently, Stein has a reputation for doing this kind of thing. He’s also harassed the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Adam Kinzinger over the years. The Atlantic‘s Jemele Hill may have had the best response to this, referring to Stein as “a whole ass, unadulterated clown” on Twitter.
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In response to Stein’s harassment of Griner, the WNBA issued the following statement: “As we gather additional information about today’s incident at the Dallas Airport, it has come to our attention that this was orchestrated by a social media figure and provocateur. His actions were inappropriate and unfortunate.”
“The safety of Brittney Griner and all WNBA players is our top priority,” the statement continued. “Prior to the season, the WNBA worked together with the Phoenix Mercury and BG’s team to ensure her safety during her travel, which included charter flights for WNBA games and assigned security personnel with her at all times. We remain steadfastly committed to the highest standards of security for players.”