Valley fans “incensed” over extremist troll who spewed hateful remarks toward Phoenix Mercury player Brittney Griner

Fans say they won’t tolerate harassment of Griner


Lauri Shaull

Center Brittney Griner (2019)

Annalisa Toni, Reporter

As if it wasn’t enough to endure the torture of being wrongfully detained in Russia last year and without knowledge of when or if she would be released…Phoenix Mercury center, Brittney Griner has endured death threats, has been repeatedly harassed and on Saturday she was accosted by social media troll, Alex Stein, while at Dallas Fort Worth International airport as Griner and teammates were on their way to a game.

Griner was confronted by Stein as he was screaming, “the Merchant of Death!” and reportedly a confrontation got so heated that the self-described internet bully was tackled and law enforcement became involved. 

The two-time Olympic gold medalist was released in a globally publicized prisoner swap that involved Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout – nicknamed the “Merchant of Death” – after Griner spent nearly 300 days in Russian custody. 

The prisoner exchange prompted unwarranted criticism from extremist Republicans who accused the Biden administration of releasing Bout and many extremists have harassed and nonsensically spewed blame at Griner. 

Brittney Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas wrote in a tweet, that Griner and the WNBA players

“Are leaders who inspire hope for a better, more inclusive and less divided America. They are celebrated for the ways their activism inspires positive change. In doing that, they also become targets for hate, threats and violence,” Colas said. “We cannot celebrate these women and their leadership without also protecting them. It’s past time for charters and enhanced security measures for all players.”

Stein, is a Dallas native and an unapologetic self-proclaimed “troll” who relishes in his notoriety for enterprising caustic confrontations with politicians and celebrities including— it seems—Griner who has become a target for his hate-filled platform. 

Stein has previously disrupted local government meetings (all with video “entertainment”) during the recent covid pandemic and reportedly in the past year he has become known for filming himself calling Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a New York Democrat a “big booty Latina” outside the U.S. Capitol. 

Ocasio-Cortez responded by calling out sexual harassment and marginalized the opportunist Stein as simply “someone seeking extremist fame.”

Longtime Phoenix Mercury fan, Linda Olsen told Northeast Valley News, “If that idiot shows his face at one of our home games—we will send him a clear message.” 

Liam Sean, is also a fan and echoed similar sentiment as Olsen, “I am incensed over this. If these people think they can come to Phoenix and spread their hate toward Griner, or any of our players…they better think again.”