“I’m good,” Griner, 32, said while aboard the aircraft on her way home. When asked what her mood was, she said, “I’m happy.”
“Yes, I’m ready,” Griner told officials aboard the plane when asked if she was ready for the flight.
Brittney Griner says she’s happy to be released in footage from plane: pic.twitter.com/UXvFDRUXnX
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) December 8, 2022
Griner appeared relieved as she was seen reviewing paperwork in the first moments of the video.
Next, she’s shown outdoors holding luggage as she stands next to Russian prison guards and gets into a van, before she’s seen on the plane.
Watch the exchange below:
Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on drug smuggling charges, was released in a one-for-one prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout on Thursday, CBS News reported, citing a U.S. official.
Later in the video, Griner is seen exiting the plane in the United Arab Emirates and passing Bout on the tarmac.
Griner is currently en route to San Antonio, Texas where she will receive medical attention and reunite with her family.
On Thursday, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert confirmed that Griner is on her way to San Antonio, where she will meet her wife, Cherelle Griner, and reunite with her parents.
Engelbert stressed that this is “a critical time” for the athlete and her family. “We’re going to give her the appropriate space and time for that and then follow what Brittney and her family want to do about re-engaging with the WNBA.”
The Phoenix Mercury star is reportedly “in good health” and will be “offered a wide range of support options” as she returns home, a senior White House official said Thursday.
The exchange agreement between Griner and Bout was recently negotiated with Moscow and was given final approval by Biden last Thursday, five former U.S. officials told the outlet.
Paul Whelan, another American who remains jailed in Russia, was not included in the swap, CNN said.
Twitter reaction has been mixed:
My last tweet was no shot at Brittney Griner. I’m super happy she’s back home as she should be. I just have family who have served and it’s crazy to me the President wouldn’t bring him home too. I’m the furthest thing from a trump supporter but I’m not a fan of Biden either.
— Micah Parsons (@MicahhParsons11) December 8, 2022
Glad Brittney Griner will spend the holidays with her wife and family. Still outrageous what Russian govt put her through using her as a political pawn. Also unjust she had to work abroad in the first place to compensate for shitty wages women pro ball players get compared to men https://t.co/t4Az1OrIeW
— Uju Anya (@UjuAnya) December 8, 2022
The big thing that shouldn’t be lost in the Brittney Griner release is that the WNBA needs to pay players more money. Because those athletes shouldn’t have to go to a second country just to make a living wage. Let this be a lesson that’s not lost in the madness.
— Will (@WilliamRichJr) December 8, 2022
We just traded “The Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout, a man who sold arms to warlords, for Brittney Griner, a WNBA player.
This may be the worst trade deal in history.
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 8, 2022
Trading a top Russian arms dealer for a pot-smoking female basketball player is peak western leftist philosophy.
Incomprehensibly stupid from a political standpoint.
But as long as it makes people FEEL warm and fuzzy, why not? #BritneyGriner
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) December 8, 2022