Here’s an update on everything we know about Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia and what’s currently happening to try and get her home.
News surfaced after weeks in a Russian jail that two-time Olympic champion Brittney Griner was in custody on alleged drug charges. The drug charges in question relate to the Russian Federal Customs Service reportedly finding hash oil in vape pens belonging to the 31-year-old WNBA star.
Why was Britney Griner In Russia?
While Griner is a championship-winning player for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, in her off-season, she goes over to Russia to play for the UMMC Ekaterinburg team. For the last seven winters, she has been playing in Russia, making a reported $1 million per season–quadruple her WNBA salary.
How long has Britney Griner been in jail in Russia?
While news only broke this weekend, it is reported she could have been in custody for almost three weeks before anyone was alerted to her whereabouts. According to Yahoo!, there is concern with the conflicts in Russia that she could be used as a high-profile hostage.
Petition Launched To Bring Britney Griner Home From Russia
Journalist Tamryn Spruill, author of COURT QUEENS–a book about the WNBA has launched a petition to help get Griner back home to the United States. You can sign the petition to help bring her home, which already has surpassed 30,000 signatures. You can also contact the US Ambassador to Russia, John J. Sullivan, at +7 (495) 728-5000. In addition, you can get Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema (202) 224-2235 and Mark Kelly (202) 224-2235.
The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not directly addressed the Griner situation, citing privacy concerns. Blinken acknowledged he is aware and offered one short statement, saying the United States “is ready to provide every possible assistance, and that includes Russia.”
Given everything going on in that part of the world, it will be challenging to bring her home, but difficult is something that can be achieved with everyone involved helping towards that goal.
Today Russian State TV released new footage of Griner in their custody holding a sign with her name without further details. As of now, it’s still unclear exactly when she was arrested or what the alleged drugs even looked like, or how they confirmed the liquid was, in fact, narcotics.
You can view the footage of her below.