A YouTube personality tried to push his way through Phoenix Mercury security personnel to get to Brittney Griner while she and the team were at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Saturday morning, according to a police report obtained by ESPN on Monday.
Alex Stein, whom the WNBA described as a “provocateur,” approached Griner while team members were walking on a concourse to catch a flight to Indiana for a Sunday tipoff following two games against the Dallas Wings.
A Mercury security representative stayed between Griner and the man, but Stein pushed the security personnel, according to the police report. The guard then pushed Stein against a wall on the concourse, and Griner waited behind a gate area until officers arrived.
Officers were dispatched at approximately 9:38 a.m. The security guard told officers that Stein “seemed aggressive and made some inappropriate comments” to Griner, the report stated. While the passenger never got physical with Griner, the Mercury security guard told officers the man was physical with him, but that he did not want to press charges.
Griner, one of the league’s biggest stars, spent most of 2022 in Russian custody after officials said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage. She was sentenced to a nine-year prison term but was freed in December through a prisoner exchange negotiated between the United States and Russia.
WNBA teams typically travel commercially, with few exceptions, for road games, although the league and the Mercury worked in the offseason to develop alternative arrangements where possible for Griner because of her high-profile case. According to a video posted by Mercury teammate Shey Peddy earlier this season, Griner and teammates appear to have traveled via JSX, a semi-private airline, to their season-opening game in Los Angeles.
After officers were called to the scene on Saturday, an American Airlines manager tried to find an area for the Mercury to congregate until their flight. A nearby Admirals Club representative said the team could enter if it purchased a day pass, but once the team was escorted to the lounge, the Mercury were told “they did not have enough room for the team,” the report stated.
The Mercury were eventually escorted to a customer experience office to wait until they boarded their flight. The team was then escorted to its gate by officers around 10:20 a.m. and immediately boarded without any other issues, according to the report.
Airport officers were unable to locate Stein in the area, the report stated, and American Airlines did not find a passenger with his name flying at the airport. The airport’s master control room confirmed that the man “walked to the lower gates, connected with a female passenger and entered the Skylink Train heading to Terminals B & D.”