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brittney griner, lisa leslie

Source: Christian Petersen; Mike Ehrmann / Getty

 

Britney Griner is still behind bars in Russia facing 10 years in prison after cannabis vape cartridges were allegedly found in her luggage. WNBA legend Lisa Leslie said this is an issue that she has been told not to speak up about. On her I Am Athlete podcast, the former Los Angeles Sparks player said she and other players have been told to be tightlipped about Griner’s detainment because of the war going on between Russia and Ukraine.

“What we were told, and again this is all sort of passed along through hearsay, but what we were told was not to make a big fuss about it,” she said. “So that they could not use her as a pawn, so to speak, in this situation in the war. So, to make it like it’s not that important or don’t make it where we’re like, ‘Free Brittney’ and we start this campaign, and then it becomes something that they can use.”

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Leslie didn’t reveal what authority laid down this law but said she questions if being silent is the right thing to do.

“It’s heartbreaking for all of us,” she continued. “That’s the feelings of it. You want to do more, and think, should we all use our social media platform and get behind it or not? Nobody really [knows]. This is the first time we’re in this situation, and we don’t know what to do.”

They might not be saying anything publicly but the WNBA community wonders about Griner’s wellbeing on a regular basis.

“I talk with Dawn Staley and people that I’m close with. We talk about it daily. We’re just like ‘Dang what’s she doing now? Do you think they cut off her hair? Does she have a bed long enough to fit in?’,” Leslie said. “We’ve had full on conversations about it, and I’m like her parents got to be sick. What’s the right thing to do about it?”

According to CNNan US Embassy official in Moscow confirmed that the Phoenix Mercury player is doing alright.

“We were able to check on her condition, we will continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network, to see to it that she is treated fairly,” United States State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “Our official found Brittney Griner to be in good condition and we will continue to do everything we can to see to that it she is treated fairly throughout this ordeal.”
Griner’s time in detention was recently extended to May 19.

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