Warriors' Steph Curry says government rebuffed offer to help gain Brittney Griner's release

Nov 30, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) pressures a shot by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) at Footprint Center.
Nov 30, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) pressures a shot by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) at Footprint Center.

Everyone knows Steph Curry is hard to stop on the court.

He also knows his voice can't be stopped regarding social and legal justice, including Brittney Griner's detainment in Russia.

Curry, in a Rolling Stone October issue cover story, published on Monday, said the Biden administration rebuffed his offer to help with efforts to gain the Phoenix Mercury All-Star's release.

Griner was convicted on drug smuggling charges and sentenced to nine years on Aug. 4. She was arrested for being caught with cannabis oil cartridges at a Moscow airport security on Feb. 17, and was deemed wrongfully detained by the Biden administration in May.

When Griner was in pretrial detention, Curry said he reached out to his contacts in the Biden administration, and he said they rejected his extended olive branch amid Russian prison-swap negotiations.

"They were telling us, 'Don’t say anything,'" Curry said.

Read more: Brittney Griner’s lawyers appeal nine-year Russian prison sentence

The NBA front office was initially in lockstep with the U.S. government about keeping its players mum regarding Griner's case. But the league's players and coaches, including the Phoenix Suns, have been vocal about Griner since May.

Curry began discussing his views about Griner's case during an on-air ESPN interview with Malika Andrews in June, in which he said, "It’s an unfortunate situation, it’s a tragedy. … She needs to be home.”

Curry added that the government's resistance to his offer galvanized him to briefly wear her Mercury jersey onstage at this 2022 ESPY Awards ceremony, which he hosted in July.

He stood alongside WNBA All-Stars Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks and Griner's teammate Skyler Diggins-Smith to give a short speech to push for Griner's freedom.

According to the Rolling Stone article, Curry said his 'contacts in the Biden administration rebuffed an offer to help.

"They were telling us, 'Don't say anything,''' the article quotes him as saying.

Curry also revealed in the Rolling Stone issue "one of his biggest career regrets" was not boycotting a game in 2014 amid allegations of racism against the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling.

“One of my biggest regrets is not boycotting the game,” Curry said. “That was a moment to leverage beyond anything we probably could have said.”

Demonstrators hold up signs in front of Staples Center demanding the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers prior to game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The NBA handed down a lifetime ban on Clippers owner Donald Sterling after it was confirmed that he made racist comments captured on a recording by his girlfriend.
Demonstrators hold up signs in front of Staples Center demanding the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers prior to game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The NBA handed down a lifetime ban on Clippers owner Donald Sterling after it was confirmed that he made racist comments captured on a recording by his girlfriend.

Chris Paul was with the Clippers at the time when they faced the Warriors in the 2014 Western Conference playoffs first-round series. Four days before Game 5, the NBA was rocked by a leaked audio recording published by TMZ on which Sterling told his then-girlfriend to not bring her Black friends to Clippers home games.

The Clippers and Warriors contemplated boycotting Game 5 in Oakland, but Curry ultimately said he deferred to the Clippers' leader, Paul, after discussing their unified player response twice. Curry said he and his Warriors teammates wanted to walk off the court after the jump ball. But the Clippers united at mid-court and threw off their t-shirts with their team logo worn inside out before playing the game. Sterling was banished by the then-new commissioner Adam Silver and forced to sell the franchise.

Lastly, in the cover story's preview article, Curry spoke with rap megastar Snoop Dogg about this summer's Kevin Durant trade rumors, including his trade request to the Suns.

Curry said despite winning the title, he would've been willing to reunite with Durant, even if it meant trading much of their roster after Golden State won the title in June.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and forward Kevin Durant (35) pause during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Phoenix. The Warriors defeated the Suns 117-107. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and forward Kevin Durant (35) pause during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Phoenix. The Warriors defeated the Suns 117-107. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After Curry and Durant were teammates for three years, Durant left the Warriors to sign as a free agent with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. Golden State won two consecutive titles with Durant in 2017 and 2018, and he was the finals MVP in both series.

Curry, who called Durant a "misunderstood" personality, cited Durant's expectations for his preferred new team were unrealistic based on Brooklyn's high trade price for him.

“Man, he thinks that they’re gonna go to teams — like if he went to Phoenix — that they’re gonna be the same team if he’s there,” Curry said.

But Curry and Snoop agreed that Durant was better off staying in Brooklyn.

Suns general manager James Jones recently told The Republic, in commingint about Durant,said he likes the Suns' roster the way it stands. He added that talks with Brooklyn never were serious about Durant because it was apparent the Nets always wanted to keep him.

Have tips for us? Reach the reporter at dana.scott@azcentral.com or at 480-486-4721. Follow his Twitter @iam_DanaScott.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Steph Curry says US government tried to silence him about Brittney Griner