Brittney Griner Says National Anthem ‘Hit Different’ This Time

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Well, well, well. What do we have here?

Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner stood tall with her teammates Friday night while the “Star Spangled Banner” rang out at Footprint Center in Arizona.

It was just a preseason game for the Mercury, but it was Griner’s first WNBA game since the 2021 Finals.

She, of course, took an involuntary leave of absence from the team while she served nearly 10 months in a Russian prison. That’s after she pleaded guilty to drug charges when authorities discovered cannabis oil vape canisters in her luggage.

Brittney Griner Says National Anthem 'Hit Different' This Time
Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury stand for the national anthem before the game against the Los Angeles Sparks. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

But our favorite 6-foot-9-inch ex-convict is back in the good ol’ U-S-of-A, and she seems to be pretty happy about it.

“Hearing the national anthem, it definitely hit different,” Griner said. “It’s like when you go for the Olympics, you’re sitting there, about to get gold put on your neck, the flags are going up, and the anthem is playing, it just hits different.”

Well, toss me a Yuengling and serve up some apple pie because damn it feels good to be an American!

Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard agrees.

“We looked at each other, and we just had chills,” Nygaard said. “We were here last year for all of it. I’m getting emotional about it now. Just to see her back out there — it’s an absolute miracle. It was amazing. It’s giving me chills again.”

Brittney Griner Is Suddenly Proud Of The USA

Let’s take a trip back in time, shall we?

Let’s travel all the way back to the summer of 2020 — when BLM rioters risked dying of COVID to ransack department stores and “mostly peaceful” protestors were burning down perfectly good cities.

Freedom fighter Brittney Griner did her part by refusing to participate in the National Anthem. In fact, she didn’t think arenas should play it at all!

“I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season,” Griner told The Arizona Republic. “I think we should take that much of a stand.”

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

In a world where most social justice warriors only take a knee, Griner dared not to take the court at all.

“I’m going to protest regardless. I’m not going to be out there for the National Anthem,” she said. “If the league continues to want to play it, that’s fine. It will be all season long, I’ll not be out there. I feel like more are going to probably do the same thing. I can only speak for myself.”

But she wasn’t only speaking for herself. She was speaking for all of Black America, who, in her opinion, had been wrongfully oppressed since 1814 by the words penned by Francis Scott Key.

Imagine the horror of living in a country where you can openly criticize the government without penalty while playing a game for a living.

Poetic Justice?

Of course, we’re getting some satisfaction out of this.

This is like when a reformed villain at the end of a movie finally sees the error of his ways.

But, honestly, save me the empty platitudes, Griner.

I’d have a whole lot more respect for her if she admitted she was wrong. If she took accountability for her words and confessed, hey, the United States — while not perfect — is actually pretty rad.

She lives in a country where she can vape without receiving a nine-year sentence in a prison camp. Where she can protest, advocate and speak up for whatever causes she wants to. A country where she’s welcome to criticize authority, travel freely, build wealth and live as she pleases.

And that same country surrendered a literal “merchant of death” just so she could have those freedoms back.

If I were Brittney Griner, I’d be shooting off fireworks and screaming the National Anthem from my rooftop.

But, you know, it just “hits different.”

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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