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LeBron James Clarifies Comments About Brittney Griner, U.S. Government

LeBron James clarified comments Tuesday about Brittney Griner and the United States government he made on The Shop: Uninterrupted.

A trailer released earlier Tuesday shows a clip of the NBA star saying, in part, “Now, how can she feel like America has her back? I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even wanna go back to America?’”

James tweeted Tuesday that he “wasn’t knocking our beautiful country. I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome.”

Griner has been detained for more than 100 days in Russia for allegedly carrying vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage while at an airport near Moscow. She pleaded guilty to the charges Thursday, which came four days after her detention was extended to December by Russian authorities. Griner could face up to 10 years in prison.

She told the judge on Thursday, according to Reuters, that “there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law.”

“I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare.”

The WNBA star is due back in court on July 14, and she will remain in custody throughout the duration of the trial. ESPN’s T.J. Quinn said that the guilty plea is a strategy, a move that was “expected.” At the core of this are negotiations between the U.S. and Russia concerning a possible prisoner swap.

President Joe Biden and his administration have been widely criticized for not getting the WNBA star back home from what the State Department has deemed wrongful detainment. On July 5, Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard suggested Griner would be stateside if she were James.

“If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right?” Nygaard said. “It’s a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those things. We know it, and so that’s what hurts a little more.”