Megan Rapinoe wears tribute to Brittney Griner while receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom

Megan Rapinoe wears tribute to Brittney Griner during Presidential Medal of Freedom awards ceremony (Getty / Instagram)
Megan Rapinoe wears tribute to Brittney Griner during Presidential Medal of Freedom awards ceremony (Getty / Instagram)

Megan Rapinoe wore a powerful tribute to WNBA star Brittney Griner while attending the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony this week where she received the nation’s highest civilian honour.

On Thursday, the professional soccer player, 37, and 16 others were presented with the award by President Joe Biden.

Ahead of the ceremony, Rapinoe revealed on her Instagram story that she’d chosen a cream suit jacket with the basketball player’s initials and a flower sewn into the lapel.

“The most important part of today,” Rapinoe captioned the photo, adding: “BG we love you.”

The WNBA star, who has been detained in Russia since she was arrested in February, pleaded guilty in a Russian court on Thursday to drug charges that could see her sentenced to 10 years in prison. Griner, who had been playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Women’s Basketball Premier League during the WNBA’s off-season, was arrested at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were allegedly found in her luggage.

The US State Department has previously classified Griner as “wrongfully detained,” while the White House said President Biden spoke to Griner’s wife Cherelle Griner on Wednesday and assured her that he was doing everything he could to secure the basketball player’s release.

Megan Rapinoe wears tribute to Brittney Griner during Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony (Instagram)
Megan Rapinoe wears tribute to Brittney Griner during Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony (Instagram)

Ahead of the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony on Thursday, Rapinoe also addressed Griner’s ongoing detainment on her Instagram Stories, where she claimed that the athlete is “being used as a political pawn”.

“BG is being used as a political pawn and we need to bring her home immediately,” she wrote. “This plea doesn’t change that @potus needs to and is working hard to get her home. From what I understand, she had to plea to keep the process of getting her home ASAP in motion.

Megan Rapinoe claims Brittney Griner is being used as ‘political pawn' (Instagram)
Megan Rapinoe claims Brittney Griner is being used as ‘political pawn' (Instagram)

“BG we are with you.”

During the White House ceremony on Thursday, Biden praised Rapinoe, the first soccer player to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for both her impressive career and her advocacy efforts.

“Beyond the World Cup titles and the Olympic medals, Megan is a champion for [an] essential American truth that everyone - everyone - is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect,” Biden said.