By Savannah Malnar
Random attacks on athletes are thankfully uncommon, but unfortunately on November 3rd WNBA star Brittney Griner was subject to one. Griner is currently playing for the Beijing Great Wall team who plays within the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association. It is her second season in that league. WNBA players commonly go to play for foreign leagues during the offseason to play to stay conditioned and to earn a higher salary.
Griner and her teammates were leaving practice at a gym located in a city called Shenyang where they had a game scheduled the following day. As they were walking towards the bus, a man who had been walking down the street yelling charged them with a knife. The women rushed to the bus but the man also managed to get into the bus and cornered them into the back. Griner said she did not understand anything he was saying, but later her teammates said he was shouting things about how they had supposedly hit his wife and how he was going to kill them. Without reason, the man eventually left the bus without causing any serious harm to the women and later the police apprehended him and took him to a mental institution.
Due to the lack of information immediately following the event, this created a lot of speculation as to the reason the man went after Griner and her teammates. Some people even suggested he was a fan who was outraged because Griner was taking a spot on the team that perhaps another Chinese-born player could have taken.
Griner soon utilized the sport media to eliminate any speculation about the event. She released a long statement giving the full story from her perspective through ESPNW and that allowed other media outlets to provide the public with a much more detailed account of the incident.
Griner’s team decided to play the game the next day and won. Grimer only suffered a very shallow cut on her elbow and her other teammate was sore due to the man attempting to stab her (the two jackets she was wearing protected her).
Through all of this, Griner remained optimistic and lighthearted. In her statement she even joked about how the man damaged her favorite Nike jacket. She also said “The thing I keep reminding myself is that the incident seemed to be random — we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”