• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 11 comments on United States Swaps Brittney Griner for Russian Arms Dealer: Did Biden Make the Right Call?

  1. Sickens me to trade a basketball player who openly disrespects America for a Russian arms dealer. From an Ex-Serviceman who served 4 years in the service. A slap in the face to Amercans and sercicemen who served our country. I can’t belive this is happening !!!!

    1. I’m sorry that you think only people with whom you politically agree should not be left for 9 years in a penal colony. I completely disagree with your characterization that Brittney Greiner disrespects America, but even putting that aside your view does not align with the values for which you supposedly served your country.

  2. Though I wish the deal had also included Paul Whelan, I am glad the US brought at least one American citizen home. Let me just correct some misinformation repeated by Woodward in this article:

    “Woodward: Viktor Bout was lawfully convicted of serious crimes in a court of law. Brittney Griner, on the other hand, was wrongfully and unlawfully detained.”

    Brittney Griner was not wrongfully and unlawfully detained. The harsh sentence was of course politically motivated, but she wittingly committed a crime according to the laws of the country she was in, pled guilty to the charge and was convicted. Her predicament was dire, but self inflicted.

    1. Thank you for saying what everyone is thinking!! I agree!! She broke the law in that country. She’s played pro ball over there for years. She knows the laws and overlooked them. No different than us crossing state lines in the US where it’s legal in some states but not others. How can we as Americans believe this is a fair trade? We all know Russia needed him to win the war in Ukraine. They are peeing on our shoes and telling us it’s rain. This man has done way more harm than brit can ever do good. A man who single Handley armed both sides of several wars compared to a woman who plays pro ball. Black, white, green, yellow, purple, gay or straight are really not the issue nor does it matter in the big picture. Do you think a GM of a sports team makes a trade because of the color or sexual preference of player? No just what benefit they can bring. Do you trade a franchise QB for a franchise kicker?? I’m happy she’s home but just doesn’t feel right knowing what we gave up in return.

  3. It’s possible that Bout has value to Russia’s current predicament, but I tend to think he won’t have a significant effect on how that plays out. If this was the best deal available, and how would we know one way or another, I’m happy to see an American come home. Hopefully the administration works out a deal for Whelan, though if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly Russia wants a kings ransom.

  4. Unlawfully and wrongfully detained? Are you people daft? She broke the law in Russia; a country she played pro basketball in for years. She knew what she did was illegal, and she gets released first as opposed to the other individual – Whalen – who had been there for years. I do not agree to a 9 year charge for what she did in Russia, and marijuana should be legal in the United States. It is unfortunate, but Griner broke the law either knowingly or unknowingly. The real reason Griner was released is she had some notoriety, some money, and the backing of other sports stars and celebrities. This is why Whalen still sits in a Russian prison as I type this: he has none of those things. I do not have confidence in my government to release me from a situation like Griner’s, because I do not have Dwayne Wade or LeBron James asking for my release.

  5. I am Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. Have been attacked by all sorts of weapons.
    Some of which result of international arms dealers. Russia recieves Mr Bout, AKA merchant of death. U.S gets a basketball player back. Are you kidding me? Last 2 nights have been pure hell for me. My combat PTSD is totally controling me. Multiple combat vets have called me. Wonder why we served our country, put our lives in extreme danger. Now this. Biden can do better then this. I ask people to visit injured combat vets wherever there at. And research how many vets kill themselves. Its over 20 a day. Biden has no respect for us. How about Mr Whelan, is this fair to him. Be honest now. And speak the truth, even if it is not popular. All I think about now is Mr Bout on the loose. And yes Mr Whelan was a vet.

    yes 9 years

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