Note: This article may contain commentary reflecting the author's opinion.

President Joe Biden announced to the nation Thursday that WNBA star Brittney Griner, who had been imprisoned in Russia following her conviction for possession of cannabis vape cartridges, was released and on her way home.

What was not included in his initial announcement was that Griner was exchanged for the international arms dealer Viktor Bout known as the “Merchant of Death,” according to CBS. Former Chief of Operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Michael Braun, told “60 Minutes” in 2010, “Viktor Bout, in my eyes, is one of the most dangerous men on the face of the Earth.” 

In 2011, Bout, a former Soviet Army lieutenant colonel, was convicted in New York of conspiracy to kill American citizens as well as officials, the delivery of anti-aircraft missiles, and aiding a terrorist organization.

“She’s safe. She’s on a plane,” President Biden said at the White House, announcing the exchange.”She’s on her way home. After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones and she should have been there all along. This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time. We never stopped pushing for her release.”

The exchange of Bout for Griner drew heavy criticism from Republicans in Congress such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who said, “This is a gift to Vladimir Putin, and it endangers American lives,” adding “Leaving Paul Whelan behind for this is unconscionable,” referring to another American prisoner in Russia who has been held on dubious charges of espionage since 2018.

Many have taken to Twitter to criticize the costly trade for Griner who earned the descriptor ‘America-hating’ in the Summer of 2020 when she called for the removal of the U.S. national anthem from WNBA games and chose to remain in her locker-room while the anthem was played.

“I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season,” Griner said, according to The Arizona Republic. “I think we should take that much of a stand.

“I personally don’t think it belongs in sports. … Black people didn’t have rights at that point,” Griner explained referring to the creation of the Star Spangled Banner in 1812. “It’s hard disrespecting a song that didn’t even represent all Americans when it was first made.”

OAN’s Chanel Rion characterized the exchange on July 30 as, “what the geniuses at the Biden State Department drummed up: a trade. A convicted Russian arms dealer a.k.a the merchant of death in exchange for an America hating lesbian pothead.”