Stephen A. Smith Praises Brittney Griner For Taking Mental Health Break After Backlash From Russian Trade


Stephen A. Smith defended basketball star Brittney Griner’s decision to take a break from the sport for her own mental health.

It was announced Saturday that Griner would not be traveling alongside her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, for a two-game trip due to her mental health. This comes months after Griner was released after being jailed in Russia for drug smuggling charges in 2022.

On the Monday edition of The Stephen A. Smith Show, Smith praised Griner for taking a step away from the limelight for her own benefit.

“First of all, God bless you. All the best to you, Brittney. If anybody, anybody at all, has a perfectly logical explanation for needing to step away from basketball to address their mental health after what she endured, it is Brittney Griner,” Smith said.

“She was in prison. I don’t care what reason there was talking about whatever, I don’t know what the hell she had, but at the end of it, it was cannabis of some sort, whatever the case may be. Here’s the bottom line. She was a political tool that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government used at that time, because obviously the United States has been assisting Ukraine in terms of sending them weapons and things of that nature,” Smith explained.

Smith highlighted that in order to get her back to America, the U.S. participated in a trade for an arms dealer, nicknamed “The Merchant of Death,” in exchange for Griner.

“You have a lot of people that have strong resentment towards Britney Grinder because of that. Feeling she didn’t deserve to be released, particularly for somebody of that ilk who could potentially come back and terrorize Americans, American citizens later on down the road. And they have a level of resentment towards her for it,” Smith said.

Smith also connected the resentment some people feel toward Griner’s decision not to stand for the National Anthem. He noted that as an American you have the freedom to make that kind of decision.

“Nevertheless, she’s going through a lot. It’s very, very understandable. And because of that, she needs a mental break. I can understand that, and I’m sure the rest of you can as well,” Smith concluded.

Watch above via The Stephen A. Smith Show.

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