Russian authorities have answered very few questions concerning the arrest of U.S. two-time gold medalist and star player for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, Brittney Griner. In American basketballs off-season, Griner makes some extra jingle by playing b-ball for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg.
Griner was arrested in Moscow sometime in February for alleged drug smuggling. Her whereabouts remain unknown along with other pertinent information such as the actual date of her arrest. Despite widespread U.S. condemnation, Putin and the boys aren’t talking.
The only clue to when she may have been arrested comes via a social media post from February 16 with a photo of her and a fan at one of the hotels in New York’s JFK Airport.
Only four days following, UMMC Ekaterinburg wiped the court with their opponent but Griner didn’t assist with her teams’ victory. She wasn’t even there.
Several weeks prior to all of this transpiring, Griner had been present and playing for the team in the EuroLeague Women games. A break in schedule had allowed her to fly home for a few days.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has tossed a wrench in the spokes for locating Griner since all diplomatic ties have been severed and bone-crushing sanctions have been placed against them.
Here are the bits and pieces of what is known. Not announcing the exact date of Griner’s arrest, the Russian news agency TASS reported that an unnamed American woman was arrested at Moscow Airport on drug charges.
The U.S. State Department responded to inquiries by saying, “We are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen arrested in Moscow. Whenever a U.S. citizen is arrested overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services.” There was no mention of the woman’s name.
Once it became public knowledge of who had been arrested, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent, said, “As we work to get her home, her mental and physical health remain our primary concern.”
Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, expressed her appreciation on Instagram for all of those concerned. “I understand that many of you have grom to love BG over the years and have concerns and want details. Please honor our privacy as we continue to work on getting my wife home safely.”
When U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked about Griner, he refused to share details. He, instead, emphasized how it isn’t advisable for any American to consider traveling to Russia and that any American currently there should hightail it home while they still can if they still can.
Just this week, the Russian Federal Customs Service reconfirmed that they’ve had a female U.S. citizen in custody since an undisclosed date in February.
They said the woman had been placed in custody and that there was an active case against her pertaining to the attempted smuggling of a significant quantity of narcotics.
Brace yourself for what they said. “The customs inspection of the hand luggage being carried by the US citizen confirmed the presence of vapes with specifically smelling liquid, and an expert determined that the liquid was cannabis oil, which is a narcotic substance.”
Griner is facing 10 years in a Russian prison for possessing the exact same stuff anyone in the U.S. can purchase at the dispensary down the street in most states.
With Russia saying “screw you” to the free world, it’s impossible to say if we’ll ever get to see Griner on a basketball court again. We could hope for a little compassion but after witnessing what we’re seeing happen in Ukraine…well…her fate will be what it will be.