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Arizona man buys 6.5K Mercury tickets to support Brittney Griner, team

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Posted at 4:12 PM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-08 22:01:23-04

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man has bought out the upper deck of the last Mercury home game to help support Brittney Griner and her team.

Hours after Griner learned her sentence in Russia on Thursday, Christopher Owens with Culture PHX, went to the Footprint Center to purchase the tickets.

He plans to give away a portion of the tickets to 42 youth organizations — 42 to represent BG’s number, “I have to, what kind of person would I be, what kind of community person could I say I am if I don’t speak for others in the community?," he questioned.

On Friday, Owens delivered the first batch of tickets to the First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix, in hopes that the tickets will be shared with youth and families wanting to support the team.

“The saddest thing about it, one of the main reasons we're doing this, had the WNBA been supported, and players made what they should have, She would not have been here in the first place,” said Owens.

The tickets will be for Chicago Sky next weekend, which is the last home game of the season for the team.

Owens is known in the Phoenix area as an activist for the African American community, and has used his platform in the past to buy tickets for youth. In 2019, Owens brought 54 girls basketball teams from across the valley to a Mercury game as well.

Culture PHX tells ABC15 that they help promote local cultural events, including events supporting women's sports.

Griner was subsequently sentenced to nine years in Russian prison for the offense.

Griner testified on Thursday, saying that she made "an honest mistake." She also apologized to the WNBA and family.

Following Griner's verdict and sentencing, President Biden released the following statement:

"Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible."

The remaining tickets that are not given out, Owens will resell at face value and use some of the money for several non-profits, including Brittney Griner’s non-profit.

For more information on tickets, click here.