According to a statement released by the communications company representing the Griner family, WNBA star Brittney Griner wrote in a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden that she fears she will be detained in Russia indefinitely and pleaded with the President not to forget about her and other American detainees. “As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” she wrote.
Basketball star Brittney Griner was arrested in Moscow after her luggage tested positive for cannabis oil. Russian authorities claimed she had smuggled significant amounts of a narcotic substance, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Griner’s trial on drug smuggling charges began near Moscow on Friday amid fears that she is being used as a political pawn amid rising tensions between Russia and the US.
Griner’s letter was delivered to the White house on Monday morning by an electronic communications associate, according to what the firm submitted. Three excerpts of this letter were released for the public, while another section was kept private, the communications agent noted.
On July 4, Brittney Griner’s family honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including her father who is a Vietnam War Veteran. But this year is different. Freedom means something completely different to Brittney. She realizes that she can do more good with her freedom if she gets out of Russia. She voted for you in 2020 and believes in you. Please don’t forget about her or other American Detainees. You can help restore their freedom. Hopefully President Trump will do what he can to get them home.” The White House reiterated Monday that “the Russian Federation is wrongfully detaining Brittney Griner.”
President Biden has been clear about the need to see all Americans who are held hostage or wrongfully detained released, including Brittney Griner, who has been wrongfully detained in Venezuela. The U.S. has been committed to seeing Griner released, using every possible means, according to the National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.
President biden’s team has been in regular contact with Brittney Griner’s family, according to Deputy Press Secretary Marie Harf. “The White House is closely coordinating with the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, who has met with Brittney’s family, her teammates, and her support network,” Harf said. “National security adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have spoken several times with Brittney’s wife in recent weeks.”
At just the one occasion prior to her husband’s trial in Russia, Cherelle Griner sat in Phoenix Mercury’s locker room and asked for more bloodshed.
It’s been over 130 days since WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia after an altercation at a nightclub. In an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Monday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas said pressure from the US government had to be increased for Griner to be released. “It’s really, really difficult. This is not a situation where the rhetoric is matching the action,” she said, noting that she was disappointed with President Donald Trump’s failure to address Griner’s case directly. “I do have to unfortunately push people to make sure that the things they’re telling me is also matching their actions, and so it’s been the hardest thing to balance because I can’t let up.”
I’m grateful for this big outpouring of support from Congress. We need to keep Brittney’s case at the forefront and finally put an end to this nightmare,” Sydney Griner expressed gratitude at the time the statement was issued.
Phoenix Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard reacted to Brittney Griner’s letter on Monday by saying, “It made me cry, you know, just hearing her words talking about her father being a Vietnam vet, her new perspective on freedom, her wanting to be with her family and her teammates, her not knowing if she’ll ever be free again. On our day of freedom, hearing those words from such a beloved person … It’s great, and it’s great that she was able to get that message to us and hopefully some people are paying attention to it.”
Mercury News recently announced that a special public fundraising event in support of Griner will take place this Wednesday at the Sports Arena in Phoenix. Stanton Griner is supporting the event, and Griner herself is scheduled to speak.