Cathy Engelbert, the WNBA Commissioner, pleaded with Russia to free American basketball player Brittney Griner. She said, “we need the Russians to step up here and get the deal that the President put on the table and get that deal done and get her home safely.”
“So as we prepare to start this great series, it’s important to reiterate that we are always thinking of Brittney Griner and our commitment to bring her home safely and as quickly as possible. That has not wavered. We continue to work with the State Department and the U.S. government and administration and others on this very complex situation. I recently received a handwritten letter from BG and I am so inspired by her courage in the face of enormous adversity. We are fully focused on getting her home safely and she remains such an important part of the WNBA family.”
Meanwhile, during a press conference on Sunday in Las Vegas before the first game of the WNBA Finals, Engelbert disclosed that she had received a handwritten letter from Griner. She said that Griner has expressed her gratitude for the league and the US government’s efforts to secure her release and that she was “staying strong.”
“It was heartfelt. She was very grateful. She knows the efforts that I personally and the League are doing to try to help get her home safely and as soon as possible and she ended with it, ‘I’m staying strong. ‘I have chills right now just saying that, she ended it with, ‘You should know I’m staying strong, and thank you.’ It was short and handwritten and really inspiring to me given how adverse her situation is. But we need the Russians to step up here and get the deal that the President put on the table and get that deal done and get her home safely.”
Griner was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February this year, as they allegedly found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. Griner was found guilty in court, and the judge handed down a ten-year sentence. The Biden administration has made several attempts to release her, even going for a prisoner swap, but the totalitarian regime of Russia has continuously refused to release her. She is still serving her time.