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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Via AP news wire

Brittney Griner, Mercury teammates confronted at airport by 'provocateur,' WNBA says

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Brittney Griner’s team has called out a conservative YouTuber for “inappropriate” harassment of the professional basketball player at the Dallas Airport on Saturday.

The YouTuber, Alex Stein is famously known for calling out politicians.

“I met my favourite WNBA Player Brittney Griner,” Mr Stein wrote on Twitter. “Video coming soon.”

Along with his tweet, Mr Stein posted a picture of himself with Ms Griner, overlayed with the text, saying: “Calling out Brittney Griner.”

In the teaser video, the YouTuber can be seen yelling at Griner, saying: “Do you still want to boycott America, Brittney?”

“She hates America!” Mr Stein shouts.

Stein’s behaviour seemingly prompted the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) to release a statement of support for Ms Griner on Saturday.

Although they’ve not mentioned Mr Stein by name, the WNBA wrote: “It has come to our attention that this [incident] 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 added. “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 chartered flights for WNBA games and assigned security personnel at all times.”

As soon as the WNBA’s statement came out, Mr Stein posted a tweet, writing: “The WNBA has already made a statement condemning me before I even posted the video.”

Phoenix Mercury’s Briana Turner also posted a tweet in support of Ms Griner, writing: “Player safety while travelling should be at the forefront.

“People following with cameras saying wild remarks is never acceptable. Excessive harassment. Our team nervously huddled in a corner, unsure how to move about. We demand better.”

In 2022, Ms Griner was freed from Russian prison after US officials negotiated a prisoner swap with Moscow for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout.

The WNBA star spent 10 months in prison in Russia after she was detained at an airport in February 2022 for allegedly carrying illegal cannabis oil in her luggage.

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