As he stood on the stage at the 2022 Oscars and accepted the Oscar for Best Documentary Short, Ben Proudfoot sent a message to President Joe Biden: Bring Brittney Griner back to America.
Griner has been detained in Russia since mid-February after hash oil was allegedly found in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. She faces a 10-year prison sentence.
“President Biden, bring Brittney Griner home,” Proudfoot, who won the documentary “The Queen of Basketball,” said to end his speech.
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Griner, a seven-time WNBA star for the Mercury, allegedly had hash oil in vape cartridges contained in luggage at Sheremetyevo airport. She was detained on February 17, per ESPN. Russian customs released a video on March 5 that appeared to show Griner going through security. Griner has played for UMMC Yekaterinburg in the Russian Premier League during the WNBA offseason since 2014.
The New York Times reported that a case had been opened for “large-scale drug transport”, which she said can lead to 10 years in prison in Russia.
Griner’s arrest came a week before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which drove all WNBA players out of Russia. The New York Times reported that Griner was the only player who was still in Russia or Ukraine.
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Proudfoot directed “The Queen of Basketball,” a documentary about Lusia Harris, who was the only woman officially drafted by the NBA and the first black woman to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. She died on January 18, just six months after the documentary was released. Shaquille O’Neal and Stephen Curry served as executive producers for the documentary.
Harris won three national championships with Delta State University and won a silver medal with the United States Women’s National Team. However, she did not have a long professional basketball career. She was selected by the then New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round of the 1977 NBA Draft, becoming the second woman ever drafted by an NBA team after Denise Long was taken in 1969. de Long by the Warriors was overruled by the then NBA commissioner. Walter Kennedy.
Harris chose not to join the Jazz and instead decided to start a family, according to the New York Times. She played for the Houston Angels in the Women’s Professional Basketball League in the 1979-80 season, before coaching at Texas Southern University for two seasons.
“The Queen of Basketball” also won awards in the short documentary categories at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.
“If there is anyone who still doubts there is an audience for female athletes, let this Oscar be the answer,” Proudfoot said in his speech.