Brittney Griner, the Phoenix Mercury star and a two-time Olympic gold medalist who competed in Russia during the WNBA offseason, was detained by Russian officials in February at a Moscow airport. She was charged with smuggling significant quantities of a drug, a crime that carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence.
The authorities of the State Department have already met with Brittney’s representatives. They have discussed the long-term detention of the Mercury star in Russia and questioned the initiatives undertaken by President Joe Biden’s administration to ensure her timely release.
“We are on day 116 since BG has been wrongfully detained,” head coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify that message and that we should continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home. She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her back home.”
Although Brittney is an American woman and a proud lesbian, the Biden administration has not yet taken legal steps in her favor. Russia and the USA rarely had a good bond between them, and tensions between the two countries remained perpetually high. Griner’s coach, wife and fans have already criticized the president’s negotiation skills. Some also say that Biden might be a sexist!
.@PressSec on letter from Brittney Griner to President Biden: "The president did read the letter…This is an issue that is a priority for this president…We believe she is wrongfully detained. We believe she needs to come home." pic.twitter.com/yh3EN2vMkU
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 5, 2022
According to Griner’s head coach Vanessa Nygaard, if the 31-year-old were one of the NBA’s best stars and a straight man, there would be much more enthusiasm to bring her back to the US. “If it was Lebron, he’d be home. Right? It’s a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those things. We know it, and so that’s what hurts a little more.”