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U.S. to hold critical briefing on detained WNBA star Brittney Griner

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The United States State Department is set to brief the WNBA team, Phoenix Mercury, about their team member Brittney Griner

Griner has been detained in Russia for 115 days.

In February, she was arrested at an airport in Russia and accused of having cannabis vaping oil in her luggage.

Photo Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko

In May, a U.S. State Department official said WNBA player Brittney Griner had been ‘wrongfully detained‘ in Russia. They also confirmed Biden’s administration has made her release a priority.

Griner’s agent has confirmed that the WNBA star is receiving some form of communication with family and friends while being detained.

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 17: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates during Game Four of the 2021 WNBA Finals on October 17, 2021 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Coach Vanessa Nygaard confirmed that the team is awaiting a crucial briefing about Griner’s wellbeing and her release.

But she did share some doubts.

“It’s been 115 days now, 115 days that she’s been wrongfully imprisoned in another country, and we just want her to come home.

I hope it’s not just a show, to say they briefed us, which I’m afraid of.

Hopefully, it’s something that shows positive progress and we learn something new that helps us learn more about how we’re going to bring our teammate home.”

Vanessa Nygaard, Phoenix mercury head coach
Vanessa Nygaard
Photo Credit: LA Times

Nygaard also used this time to encourage U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to attend one of Mercury’s upcoming games.

“You’re welcome to come into our locker room and talk to us. You’re also welcome to just enjoy the game, you can see what our team looks like without Brittney Griner, but also we would just love to see you as a supporter of our team.

“And um, yeah, we have snacks in our locker room, we got all sorts of stuff that we would love to — honestly, you can sit on the bench, you can sit on the bench right next to me.”

Vanessa Nygaard, Phoenix mercury head coach

Former teammate Penny Taylor also used her hall of fame speech to call for Griner’s release saying “the entire global sports community needs to come together to insist that she be a priority.”

Penny Taylor
Photo Credit: Swish Appeal

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

Business

Crypto.com scraps $495m deal with UEFA Champions League

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Cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has cancelled a five-year sponsorship deal worth $495million with the UEFA Champions League

Major cryptocurrency exchange platform Crypto.com has officially scrapped its deal with the UEFA Champions League.

The in-principle deal would have seen the crypto company take over as the sponsor from Russian state-owned energy company, Gazprom.

Gazprom’s contract was cancelled in March, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Crypto.com scrapped the deal because of regulatory concerns in the U.K, France and Italy.

The crypto exchange has previously been involved in sports advertising over the past year, with sponsorship into Formula One and the naming rights deal for the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.

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Sport

Has FIFA failed its LGBTQ+ supporters?

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With the Men’s World Cup due to kick off in Qatar this November, has FIFA failed its LGBTQ+ supporters?

It was 12 years ago when Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is due to kick off in November.

The men’s football championship dominates headlines and excites fans right around the world. Thousands will descend on the country to view the spectacle and millions more will watch from afar.

Sport is wonderful thing – often bringing communities together and challenging societal barriers. But there’s a dark cloud hanging over this year’s football event. This will be the first time the FIFA World Cup has been hosted by an Arab country.

There are concerns about the safety and wellbeing of fans travelling to a region that fails to protect a number of fundamental human rights.

In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and punishable with up to 7 years in prison, or even death in some circumstances. At a sporting event where everyone is supposed to be welcome, many fans won’t necessarily feel safe – if they do decide to attend at all.

TICKER NEWS spoke with former football player Thomas Beattie. On 23 June 2020, Beattie came out as gay during an interview with ESPN. He was one of the first male professional footballers to do so.

Following a career-ending injury, the now 35-year-old said this incident was the trigger he needed to reveal his true self.

“It was big to learn to embrace every part of myself and be ok with it,” he said. “I used to go home and lay on my bed, praying it would all go away. I still think if I was playing now, I’d still not be out.”

Should the World Cup be held in Qatar?

When it comes to the World Cup in Qatar, Beattie is frustrated the pinnacle of men’s football was given to an Arab nation in the first place.

“I don’t think any global sporting event should be hosted in any country that doesn’t have equal rights across the board,” he said.

But FIFA is determined it will be just as spectacular as ever, promising inclusion will be at the forefront of every decision.

“We’ve received the necessary guarantees, we are training all the officials,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.

“We are working hand in hand with the government, with the police authorities, everyone will be welcome.”

There is also hope that having the World Cup in Qatar will be a catalyst of change. Could this moment lead to policy reform and greater protections for the nation’s Queer community?

Regardless, all eyes will be on FIFA and Qatar as fans and players touch down in Doha in November. Will the tournament be remembered for all the right reasons or will it be shrouded in shame?

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Media

Will Elon Musk buy Manchester United?

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Musk, one of the richest people in the world tweeted that he was buying the English Premier League team and this helped increase the share price of the club

But it only took a short time for him to say, this was all part of “a long running joke”.

Manchester United, one of the most recognised and popular football clubs in the world is currently languishing at the bottom of the ladder.

They’ve seen more than eight coaches over the last decade.

And this has prompted fans to call on the current owners; the American Glazer family, to sell the club.

Within a few hours Musks tweet garnered half a million likes but some didn’t take it seriously considering Musk recently changed his mind about buying the social media giant twitter.

But what Musk later revealed as a joke, has angered some fans around the world.

Elon Musk is known to have a sense of humour but it is difficult at times to understand if he’s serious or not.

And to this day, he has announced ambitious goals that include colonising Mars and building a sustainable energy economy.

All while making Tesla one of the most successful car companies in the world and leading the rocket company SpaceX which some argue is revolutionising space technology.

Coming back to the joke. Some may have found it funny.

But I didn’t hear any Manchester United fans laughing.

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