The fight to free WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russian detainment continues, but it may be a “very difficult” task to achieve amid the country’s chaotic invasion of Ukraine, said Democratic Rep. John Garamendi of the US House Armed Services Committee.
“Our diplomatic relationships with Russia are nonexistent at the moment,” the White House official revealed on Mar. 7, CNN noted. “Perhaps during the various negotiations that may take place, she might be able to be one of the solutions.”
Additionally, Garamendi noted that Russia “has some very, very strict LGBTQ rules and laws,” but it’s unclear as to whether they will affect the WNBA star’s case.
Griner, who has been playing with the Russian Women’s team UMMC Ekaterinburg for the last seven years during the WBNA off-season, was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport sometime in late February after officials from the Russian Customs Service found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. The star had flown back to Russia from New York, as she had a scheduled game with the UMMC Yekaterinburg. Drug sniffing canines detected the substance as she was walking through security screening.
While the situation may seem bleak currently, there’s still hope for Griner’s release.
Griner’s Arrest Is On “Biden’s Agenda”
Calls for Griner’s safe return back to U.S. soil are sounding far and wide. Her case has now caught the attention of the Biden Administration and U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson, of Houston, Texas where Griner hails from, reassured fans and the public that government officials were doing everything in their power to help free the 31-year-old athlete.
The Democrat told reporters on Monday that the star’s arrest was on “Biden’s agenda.”
‘We know about Brittney Griner, and we know that we have to move on her situation,” she added, the Daily Mail reported.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham made some bold statements about Vladimir Putin and his tyrannical raid over Ukraine. During an appearance on Fox News last week, the Senator called for Russian officials to assassinate Putin in order to end the Russia and Ukraine conflict. After a slew of backlash, Graham doubled down on his comment while speaking to TMZ, noting how Putin was a “war criminal.”
“The sooner he’s gone the better,” he added. “The only way this ends in a sustainable fashion is for the Russian people to take him out.”
The WNBA Star Faces Serious Charges
The Pheonix Mercury player is currently being held on drug charges. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison in Russia. Russian authorities have reportedly opened up a criminal case against Griner pertaining to “the large-scale transportation of drugs.” She is currently being held in custody as the investigation continues, according to the New York Times.
Detained Marine Trevor Reed Believes Russian Officials May Have Set Griner Up
The family of retired Marine, Trevor Reed, believes Russian authorities could have set Griner up, noting key similarities between the WNBA champs case and Reed’s detainment in Russia. The former troop has been locked up in Russia since 2019 on endangerment charges after he allegedly compromised the life and health of a Russian police officer in Moscow. Reed was convicted in 2020 and sentenced to 9 years in prison.
Jonathan Franks, a representative of the Reed family told TMZ they were “highly skeptical” about the arrest, adding that Russian officials have been known in the past to “fabricate criminal cases.” The Reeds hope Griner’s detainment will shed light on the dangers of being American in Russia, especially during this tense war period. They also denied all of the allegations against Reed.
A Petition Has Been Created To Help Free Griner
Spearheaded by sports journalist Tamryn Spruill, a Change.org petition has been created, pleading for Griner’s swift and safe return to the U.S. As of Mar. 8, the petition has received over 30,000 signatures.
Spruill, who does regular sports coverage of the WNBA, referred to Griner on the campaign’s website as “a beloved global citizen who has used her platform since her entry into the WNBA to help others.”
Brittney Griner’s Wife & Family Are “Hurting” Over Her Detainment
After breaking her silence for the first time on Sunday, Griner’s wife Cherelle, took to Instagram again on Mar. 7 to share how heartbroken she and Griner’s family were about the arrest.
“We love you babe! People say “stay busy.” Yet, there’s not a task in this world that could keep any of us from worrying about you,” Cherelle wrote, captioning a sweet photo of Griner smiling amongst her family and loved ones.
“My heart, our hearts, are all skipping beats every day that goes by. I miss your voice. I miss your presence. You’re our person! There are no words to express this pain. I’m hurting, we’re hurting. We await the day to love on you as a family,” she added.
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