Five times Angel McCoughtry, WNBA All-Star says she has no plans to return to Russia in the offseason following Brittney Griner’s arrest, even though she says she earned her entire WNBA salary in one month playing there.
In an interview with sports On Thursday, the two-time Olympic gold medalist said she played in Russia for three years, describing it as “probably the hardest place I’ve ever had to play in.”
Like many WNBA players who go abroad to supplement their salary, McCoughtry says Griner’s arrest The situation is complicated by Russia being one of the countries that pays the most for women’s basketball.
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“It’s hard for us because Russia was one of the places where we made the most money. I was making my WNBA salary in a month in Russia. All my salary. I think the girls will go play somewhere else, probably.”
When asked if he would return to Russia, McCoughtry told the outlet no.
“No, I wouldn’t go back. I wouldn’t go back. At this point, no.”
Griner was released from a Russian penal colony on Thursday after nearly 10 months in custody. Russian authorities said he had vape cartridges filled with cannabis oil in his luggage. She was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty, arguing that she had been prescribed cannabis for her pain and inadvertently packed it.
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WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert addressed concerns about players traveling abroad at a news conference Thursday. She highlighted the development of the league in recent years with the goal of providing more opportunities for players in the US, but noted that the decision to play internationally is ultimately at the discretion of the players.
“I’ve been a big advocate of letting players do what they want with their offseason,” Engelbert said. “This is their time to figure out what they want to do. But we’re also removing the economic model and growing the league.”
“Our players will do what’s best for them in consultation with their families and their agents. And we’re certainly here to help them think about security risks and things like that. But I think you’re seeing players take advantage of other opportunities, and we’ll certainly give them more opportunities to do things with the league in the offseason and keep the momentum around the big play they put out on the floor every year.”
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McCoughtry echoed that sentiment, adding that he thinks Griner will make his comeback to the WNBA in 2023.
“Our season doesn’t start until May, so we have another five or six months. I think by then she’ll be ready to play, because everyone will want to see her play. She’ll be amazing.”
“Women’s sport is growing very quickly, we have more fans than ever, more TV coverage, so now is the time to see her dive back in and smile on that court.