“To think that our friend can be in a cell in Russia, so far from her family, her friends, it hurts the heart”, declared Friday, August 5 on franceinfo the French basketball player Edwige Lawson. The former player of the France team reacted to the conviction in Russia of Brittney Grinner, American star of the WNBA, to nine years for drug trafficking.
She hopes “that Brittney does not make her nine years which have been announced”. The European champion with Les Bleues in 2001 and silver medalist at the London Games in 2012, also explains the interest “financial” what had Brittney Grinner to play in Russia.
franceinfo: How did you react to the announcement of Brittney Griner’s nine-year prison sentence?
Edwige Lawson: At first it hurt a lot, especially when you know Brittney personally, as I’m lucky enough to know her. He is an extraordinary human being, really very nice. I have a six-year-old son and Brittney spent her time playing with him, always being really, really sweet. And to think that our friend can be in a cell in Russia, so far from her family, her friends, it hurts my heart.
“Seeing the images hurts. It really hurts to hear. But at the same time, when you keep reading and hearing what’s going on, you try to keep hope alive.”Edwige Lawson, French basketball player
Because we think that the negotiations are not over. Now it’s going to be more of a closed-door negotiation where the media may be less aware of what’s going on. But we hope Brittney doesn’t turn nine, which was announced yesterday.
>> DECRYPTION. We explain to you in six acts how the conviction of the American basketball star has become a diplomatic issue for the United States
Were you able to talk with relatives of his family?
Yes, we even managed to be able to write to him. My husband forwarded an email several times from our family. She was able to answer us. We can have news.
For the general public, an American, double Olympic champion, who plays in Russia, this may surprise. Can you explain to us why the players of the WNBA, the North American Women’s Basketball League, are attracted to this championship?
This is the financial plan. In the American professional championship, the WMBA, which takes place during the summer, the players are paid with salaries that go up to a maximum of 200,000 dollars. And when they go to play in Russia, the top players in the world, like Brittney Grinner, it’s around 1.5 million dollars a season. So players go to Russia to earn a living, to earn money and for post-career.