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The WNBA was ready for a celebration. It was going to be one of the greatest moments in league history. ESPN was ready to declare the moment as the sports story of the year. ABC had it pegged as the Comeback story of the century.
NBA players were going to get off their yachts in the Meditteranean, hop on their private jet and fly in to join the party. Vice President Harris was preparing to giggle her way through a victory speech full of pronouns and something else nobody understood.
Even President Biden was looking forward to attending the party through a teleconference. He regrettably couldn’t attend since he tested positive for Covid-19 again. It’s okay though. His ice cream was all prepared for him during his thirty-second video tribute.
Alas, it is not to be. The pesky Russians told the Biden Administration and the progressive left something they’re not used to hearing. They said no.
Reports were coming out last week that the Biden White House was offering notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, also known as the Merchant of Death, in exchange for Brittany Griner and Mark Whelan. Whelan is a former U.S. Marine arrested in Russia and charged with being a spy.
Those who know anything about the Merchant of Death were furious at the prospect of offering to trade him back to Russia in exchange for Griner and Whelan. According to Reuters.com, Bout was one of the world’s most wanted men in 2008 at the time of his arrest.
The administration never publicly said what the offer for Griner was. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken would only say it was a “substantial offer”. Sources familiar with the negotiations leaked that Bout was the prize prospect in the exchange.
The Russians were angry the negotiations were made public. The AP reported, that Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov replied that prisoner swaps were typically negotiated discreetly behind the scenes.
The Russian government has now made a counter-offer. Reports from CNN state they have asked for Vadim Krasikov to be included. Krasikov is a Russian citizen, and alleged hitman, convicted by the German government of murdering a former Chechen soldier in Berlin in 2019.
Now, it is the United States turn to say no. They believe the Russians are not acting in good faith and are sticking to the original exchange offer. It wouldn’t be up to the State Department to turn over Krasikov. He is in German custody. The Russians know this. They’re angry the negotiations have gone public.
Maybe the NBA and WNBA stars demanding Griner be released in their annual “look at me” ESPY event have delayed her return home. During the show, Steph Curry said, “she’s one of us, the team of athletes in this room tonight and all over the world. A team that has nothing to do with politics or global conflict”.
Perhaps, the public pressure being put on the State Department caused the leak to appease the voices. Now Griner and Whelan remain imprisoned in Russia.
Maybe, it should serve as a wake-up call to the athletes around the globe. The world is bigger than you and nobody cares that you’re an athlete. In the grand scheme of world history, you made more three-pointers than anyone else. Who cares?