After spending most of 2022 Unjustly detained in RussiaWNBA star Brittney Griner She’s ready to get back to her regular life – including basketball. distance Prisoner exchange Leading up to her release in December, the Phoenix Mercury Center made it clear that her career on the court is far from over. in December post on InstagramGriner wrote, “I also want to make one thing clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and while doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who have advocated, written, and posted for me personally soon.”
However, it looks like it won’t be business as usual when it comes to Griner’s travel arrangements. to me ESPN’s Ramona ShelburneCharter flights for players have once again become a central conversation in the league “given the assumption that Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner will need to travel privately due to security concerns.”
Given her time in prison in Russia, it is believed that security concerns would make it impractical for the two-time Olympic gold medalist to travel on commercial flights. Possible options could have the eight-time All-Star fly privately themselves, or Mercury could charter private flights, a choice with ramifications for the entire league. If a team can use private travel, it is not fair to other teams who are still required to use commercial aircraft. Case for Justice is set in the year 2022, when… New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai has been fined $500,000 For use of charter flights during the second half of the 2021 WNBA season. According to the 2020 collective bargaining agreement, players can reserve extra or comfort economy seats. Well, that looks pretty comfortable for a 6-foot-9 professional athlete.
Casual travel has been a controversial topic for the league. In the past few years, multiple teams have been affected by canceled flights and travel delays. Yes, we all have travel nightmare stories, but when your flight is delayed and you’re spending the night at the airport, no one expects you to keep going out and competing against the best basketball players in the world. And despite what some people think, COVID is still an issue. When the league suffered a surge in cases last season, Players blamed the outbreak on commercial travel.
G/O Media may earn a commission
Two-time WNBA Champion Breanna Stewart, the most popular free agent of the 2023 offseason, has made charter flights a big point in her meetings and negotiations with potential teams. On Sunday, a four-time WNBA All-Star chirpI would like to be part of a deal that helps support charter travel for the entire WNBA. I will contribute my NIL hours and posts + my production hours to make sure we all travel in a way that prioritizes player health + safety, ultimately leading to a better product. Her message was met with a hand-raising person emoji by many WNBA players including Chinese and Nica Ogomek, Kahlia Cooper, Nafesa Collier, Natalie Ashunua, and Lycia Clarendon.
While it is absurd that these players have to make plans to pay for accommodations that must be covered by the teams or the league, it seems like this is the only way they can be treated like a pro.
WNBA Commissioner Kathy Engelbert previously told ESPN“If we can get it to sponsor or fund it somehow… all ears. I’ve had a lot of calls over the last year about this since we’ve been back in our 12 markets. Then when people price it out, you’ll never hear from them again.” “.
The use of charter flights has been an ongoing problem for the WNBA, and it doesn’t look like a solution is coming anytime soon. If cancellations, coronavirus, and sleeper teams at the airport don’t solve the problem, I doubt Brittney Grenier’s growing security concerns will.