An “inappropriate and unfortunate” incident took place at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Saturday involving Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner and her teammates, the WBNA said in a statement.
“As we gather additional information about today’s incident at the Dallas Airport, it has come to our attention that this was orchestrated by a social media figure and provocateur. His actions were inappropriate and unfortunate,” the WBNA said, without elaborating upon the identity of the social media personality.
Phoenix Mercury confirmed that an “incident took place” at the airport.
The details of the incident were not immediately clear, although far-right activist Alex Stein posted a video on Twitter in response to the WBNA’s statement that showed him accosting Griner at an airport.
“She hates America,” the video showed Stein saying loudly as the WBNA All-Star walked by.
Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, retweeted the video, writing, “One of the saddest, most pathetic ironies here is this man, threatening women in an airport for clicks, is in fact, doing his best Putin impression by trying to sow racial and political divide between Americans.”
The incident came a little over one year after Griner wasat a Moscow airport and detained for 10 months on drug-related charges. She was freed in December during in the United Arab Emirates.
Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner on Saturday alleged there had been “excessive harassment” during the team’s travel.
“Player safety while traveling should be at the forefront. People following with cameras saying wild remarks is never acceptable,” Turner wrote on Twitter, adding, “Our team nervously huddled in a corner unsure how to move about.”
Colas blamed the incident on Griner and WBNA players’ advocacy for a “better, more inclusive and less divided America.”
The situation at the airport was a “calculated confrontation” that left Griner and her teammates feeling “very unsafe,” the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, the union for WBNA players, said in a statement.
The solution to such threats is to allow teams to fly on chartered planes, the WNBPA said, emphasizing that “the matter of charter travel is NOT a ‘competitive advantage’ issue.”
The Bring Our Families Home campaign, an advocacy group that supports American hostages and detainees, tweeted its support for Griner.
“What happened today is unacceptable and especially when targeted towards a former hostage and wrongful detainee,” the campaign wrote.