Russian courts are giving WNBA player Brittney Griner an even harder time. A decision has been made to extend her jail time until July 2 as she awaits trial, ABC reports. Griner has been incarcerated for a little over three months.
The 31-year-old Phoenix Mercury center was arrested on February 17 for allegedly carrying vape cartridges with hashish oil through the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. The cannabis oil is illegal in Russia. Griner traveled to Russia to play for the country’s premier league team UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason.
According to reports, the Russian courts charged Griner with “large-scale transportation of drugs” which could get her up to 10 years in prison if convicted. In support of Griner, the U.S. government classified her arrest as “wrongfully detained.”
Griner’s wife Cherelle spoke out against her wife’s arrest on Good Morning America. In appreciation for the outpour of love and support from fans and the league, she shared that Brittney has felt a sense of “comfort” during this hurdle in her life. The WNBA stood in solidarity with Griner on May 6 during the season opener by presenting a customized floor awning bearing Britany’s initials with a jersey numbered 42 displayed on all 12 WNBA basketball courts.
“Things like that matter, like, it has her hopeful,” she gratefully expressed to Roberts. “It lets her know she’s not forgotten.” She added, “Those small moments, I know, give her some type of hope.” With the fear of Griner, as well as other American detainees, being used as collateral in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Griner’s wife stated she would like to speak with President Joe Biden who she believes “has the power” to do something about the situation. “She’s a political pawn,” she told GMA. “So if they’re holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it.”
International U.S. consular officers have been sparingly meeting Griner in Russia with hopes to “continue to insist that Russia allow consistent and timely consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees,” according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price. “One-off visits are not sufficient, and we will continue to call on Moscow to uphold its commitments under the Vienna Convention for consistent and timely access, as well,” he added.
Griner’s wife, U.S. officials, the WNBA, Phoenix Mercury teammates, and overall supporters are continuing the fight to bring Brittney back home. Mercury teammate Diana Taurasi stated, “We’re here to do whatever we can to amplify and keep BG at the forefront, which is more important than any basketball game and anything else that’s going on in our lives. We want BG to come home as soon as possible, it’s number one on our list.”