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Brittney Griner in a black hoodie giving an interview, with a focused and serious expression. The background shows a softly lit indoor setting with dark red seats, creating a contrast that highlights the person's engagement in the discussion. This image captures a moment from a television interview, reflecting the intensity and gravity of the topics being addressed."

Brittney Griner speaks with PBS NewsHour.

WNBA Star Brittney Griner Describes Imprisonment in Russia

May 9, 2024

WNBA Star Brittney Griner Describes Imprisonment in Russia

Ask students: Who is Brittney Griner, and why was she arrested in Russia? When did Griner feel the most hopeless?


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Teacher's note: The subject of this story describes suicidal feelings while incarcerated in Russia. As always, teachers should review the video before sharing with class.

The NewsHour's first interview with basketball star Brittney Griner focused on what it was like being detained by Russian authorities for ten months. In this second NewsHour interview, Amna Nawaz talks with Griner about her release from Russian custody, readjusting to life back in the U.S. and her new book “Coming Home.”

View the transcript of the story. You can also watch the first portion of the interview here.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  • Who is Brittney Griner, and why was she arrested in Russia?
  • When did Griner feel the most hopeless?
  • What kept Griner pushing forward during her incarceration?
  • Why was Griner ultimately released?
  • How has Griner dealt with criticism following her release?

Focus Questions

After listening to Griner, how do you think the U.S. should try to secure the release of prisoners held in Russia and other countries under harsh or unfair sentences?

Media literacy: Why do you think the producers of the NewsHour interviewed Griner over two nights? That is, why do you think Griner's story, tied to the release of her book, needed two segments to cover?

Extension Activity

Watch the first part of the interview with Griner here, then discuss — how can the U.S. protect citizens from abusive arrests overseas? What protections do U.S. citizens have already that many in other countries traveling abroad do not? If you are not sure, how could you find out?

Remote video URL

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom
PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. The site combines the best of NewsHour's reliable, trustworthy news program with lesson plans developed specifically for... See More

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