In years past, WNBA players would compete in Russia during the offseason because of the high salaries that are offered to him. That will no longer be the case.
Top WNBA players are no longer willing to play in Russia due to Brittney Griner's legal situation. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested for having vape cartridges containing cannabis oil on her. She was then sentenced to nine years in prison.
WNBA star Breanna Stewart opened up about electing to snub Russia in the offseason.
“Honestly my time in Russia has been wonderful, but especially with BG still wrongfully detained there, nobody’s going to go there until she’s home,” Stewart said, via CNBC. “I think that, you know, now, people want to go overseas and if the money is not much different, they want to be in a better place."
For the most part, basketball fans aren't surprised by this news.
Jonquel Jones and Courtney Vandersloot have also decided to play in a different country. They used to be on the same Russian team as Griner.
“The thing about it is, we were treated so well by our club and made such strong relationships with those people, I would never close the door on that,” Vandersloot said. “The whole situation with BG makes it really hard to think that it’s safe for anyone to go back there right now.”
It seems like the door is open for a return to Russia. Until Griner's situation gets sorted out though, WNBA players will play in other countries during the offseason.