Brittney Griner ‘wrongfully detained’ in Russia, US officials say: Reports

Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner is being “wrongfully detained” in Russia, two US officials said on Tuesday, according to multiple reports. This change in tone – which includes the transfer of her case to the State Department – ​​indicates that the United States will now work more aggressively to free her from incarceration, even as her trial continues.

Griner is currently being held for drug trafficking and has been held in Russia since February. Russia’s Federal Customs Service said officials arrested an American basketball player after finding vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage at Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow, The New York Times reported on May 5. March. A Russian court extended Griner’s detention until May 19, a person close to the situation confirmed Athleticism March 18.

The WNBA will honor Griner this season by displaying his initials and jersey number on the sidelines of the league’s 12 courts.

“As we begin the 2022 season, we’re keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do across basketball and in the community,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement on Tuesday. . “We continue to work to bring Brittney home and appreciate the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily difficult time.”

Griner, 31, played for UMMC Yekaterinburg in Russia for several years during the WNBA offseason.

With the 2022 season set to begin on Friday, the league also announced that the Mercury have been granted both roster and salary cap relief so they can carry a replacement player until Griner, who will receive her full salary, be ready to come back.

Each WNBA market will also support Griner’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive, an initiative she founded in 2016 to support the homeless population.

“Pending his return, our primary concern remains his safety and well-being,” Mercury Chief Executive Jim Pitman said in a statement. “Our fans will miss her impact on the court and in our community, and this gesture of including her initials on every court and activating our BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive in every market is for them and for her.”

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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