DFW Airport

Phoenix Mercury make travel ‘adjustments' following DFW Airport incident with Brittney Griner

Griner’s teammates say they were startled when the confrontation began and that they were eventually escorted to a different room with more privacy

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) grabs a rebound in front of Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner, right, during the second half of a WNBA basketball basketball game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, June 9, 2023.
AP Photo/LM Otero

Phoenix coach Vanessa Nygaard said Sunday that the Mercury will make adjustments for traveling to future road games, one day after star center Brittney Griner was confronted by a “provocateur” at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Nygaard would not divulge details of those changes, citing league policy and safety concerns about her team.

“We will ensure that our players and our organization and our staff are safe,” Nygaard said before the Mercury played at Indiana. “We will be making adjustments that maybe should have happened before but right now we're going to prioritize the safety of our players and we've seen that the organization has supported us.”

A man described by the WNBA as a "social media figure" posted a 93-second video of himself at the airport shouting at Griner, questioning why she still hates America and whether trading a Russian prisoner to obtain her release was a fair trade.

Griner’s teammates say they were startled when the confrontation began and that they were eventually escorted to a different room with more privacy.

“That’s obviously nothing no one wants to deal with, especially on a business trip for work,” Phoenix center Brianna Turner said. “We’re representing the league, we’re representing the city of Phoenix, our organization and in times like that we don’t want to cause a big scene. we don’t to like throw phones or say some things. I guess the lesson is you live and learn but I don’t know what you do if it happens again.”

Griner doesn't talk before games on the road, but was expected to after the contest against the Fever.

Sports Connection

Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.

Cooper Flagg and Sadie Engelhardt named nation's top high school athletes at ESPYs

Everything to know about the MLB All-Star Game: How to watch, rosters and more

Seeing what happened also upset players around the league.

“I’m not going to lie, that made me very angry,” said Fever forward Emma Cannon, a close friend and former teammate of Griner. “Then I saw a little snippet of the video, which was upsetting and then for that to be her first time flying commercial with the team like that, it’s upsetting.”

Breanna Stewart, who is on the executive committee of the players' union said that no one has any problems if Griner flies privately.

“I think that you know, that there needs to be extra precautionary measures taken and you know, I don’t think anyone is against BG having charter flights whenever she wants, so that she can be herself and travel and be comfortable and be safe," Stewart said. "Because that’s the last thing we want is what happened yesterday.”

Before this season, league officials discussed with Griner’s representatives and the Mercury security concerns for the All-Star's road trips following her returned from detainment in Russia. The thought was the highly publicized case compromised her and others’ safety.

The league granted Griner permission to book her own charter flights. Charter flights were added for the entire playoffs this year as well as a handful of back-to-back regular-season games were scheduled for such flights. WNBA teams have flown commercially during the regular season since the league’s inception in 1997.

Copyright The Associated Press and NBC 5 News
Contact Us