Brittney Griner family fears for her safety.
All-Star WNBA player Brittney Griner was detained last month at a Moscow airport after a check of her baggage found vape cartridges, according to Russian officials.
The cartridges were recognized as having oil derived from cannabis, according to the Russian Customs Service, which may result in a maximum penalty of ten years in jail. The individual apprehended was recognized as a WNBA player by the customs authorities, although the date of her detention was not given. Griner, according to Russian media, was the player.
Griner, who is a member of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, spends the winters in Russia for the last few years, earning more than $1 million every season which is more than her WNBA pay. She last played for UMMC Ekaterinburg on Jan. 29, before the league went on a two-week hiatus in early February for the FIBA World Cup qualification competitions.
This winter, more than a dozen WNBA players, including league MVP Jonquel Jones, Courtney Vandersloot, and Allie Quigley of the champion Chicago Sky, were playing in Russia and Ukraine. The WNBA announced on Saturday that all players had departed both nations, all except for Griner.
Brittney Griner, 31, has two Olympic gold medals to his credit with the United States, a WNBA title with the Mercury, and a national championship with Baylor. She has been named to the All-Star team seven times.
Because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the State Department issued a “do not travel” advisory on Saturday, urging all U.S. citizens to leave Russia immediately, “the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials” and “the Embassy’s limited ability to assist” Americans in Russia are the main factors.
Brittney Griner’s wife thank everyone for their concerns and prayer but asked for privacy as she and her family are dealing with this issue, trying to get Britney back home.
Russia’s penalty may be up to ten years in jail if she is found guilty.