Arizonan Award Winner of the Year, Brittney Griner, has been the face of global unrest

Corrections and Clarifications: An earlier version of this column made an incorrect reference regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A week before the Russian army invaded Ukraine, Brittney Grenier flew into Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. Russia’s Federal Customs Service discovered e-cigarette cartridges containing small amounts of cannabis oil in her luggage and arrested her.

She has arrived as one of the elite athletes in women’s professional sports, winner of the NCAA National Championship, Olympic Gold Medalist and WNBA World Champion.

Now I stand on the edge of the abyss.

Today we’re naming Brittney Griner “Arizonan of the Year” because no other Arizona newsmaker in 2022 captured the public’s attention as intensely as she did. Nor did anyone’s story in this case evoke the kind of fear and foreboding she had been experiencing for nearly 300 days.

Greiner finds herself caught up in a war

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Grenier stands in a cage in the courtroom before a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

Greiner finds herself caught not only in a war between the Russians and the Ukrainians, but in a historic shift in the global world order. Russia has awakened the defensive NATO and Western Europe has rallied to arm and finance the Ukrainian resistance.

Greiner’s fate is now in the hands of one of the most brutal despots on the planet – Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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