Lebron James backtracks on remarks critical of the U.S. effort to bring home WNBA's Britney Griner

The superstar player says he wasn't "knocking our beautiful country."
Lebron James

NBA star LeBron James says his comment about WNBA star Brittney Griner perhaps not wanting to come back to the United States after having been in detention in Russia since February was not meant to criticize the U.S. 

Earlier this week, a trailer for an upcoming episode of "The Shop: Uninterrupted" showed James saying he isn't sure he would return to the United States if he were Griner – the WNBA player who has been locked up in Russia for months. 

In the clip, the star player said, "She’s been there over 110 days. Now, how could she feel like America has her back? I would be feeling like, 'Do I even want to go back to America?'"

No context was added to the clip, and the full episode won't be released until Friday. But James is now claiming he "wasn’t knocking our beautiful country" with his commentary.

"My comments on "The Shop" regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country," James tweeted Tuesday night. "I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome."

The two-time Olympic gold medalist has been in Russian custody since February when she was detained on drug possession charges for having cannabis vape cartridges on her at the airport. She recently pled guilty to the charge and could receive a decade in Russian prison, if found guilty, though the U.S. State Department says she is wrongfully accused. 

Lebron is one of a number of high-profile athletes who have advocated publicly for every effort to bring Griner home. 

In a call last week, President Joe Biden told Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, that he is working to secure the release of the WNBA player "as soon as possible."