For the first time since Brittney Griner was detained in Russia on February 17, his wife has spoken publicly about how the US government is handling the situation in a appearance in good morning america Wednesday.
Cherelle Griner, who graduated from North Carolina Central University School of Law earlier this month, revealed that she spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as well as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Commissioner WNBA Cathy Engelbert about his wife’s arrest. While the US State Department called Griner back to US soil as a “top priority” and later found her to be “wrongfully detained”, Cherelle expects to see additional action taken to bring her wife home.
“I don’t know,” she replied when asked by GMA’s Robin Roberts if she thought freeing Brittney was a top priority for the US State Department. “Thanks for the call [from Secretary Blinken]. You say she’s a priority, but I want to see it. I feel like seeing that would be seeing BG back on American soil.”
Cherelle Griner also hopes her speech will reach President Biden and put an additional spotlight on his wife’s plight.
“I keep hearing it, you know, he has the power. She is a political pawn,” she said. “So if they’re holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it.”
Griner, a seven-time All-Star with Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA, was arrested in February at Sheremetyevo International Airport, where Russian officials said they discovered vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage. According to the Customs Service’s statement, a criminal case involving Griner “has been opened for the large-scale transport of drugs”, which can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years in Russia.
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Cherelle Griner said she first heard of her wife’s detention from Brittney herself, who sent a series of texts after being stopped for the first time by Russian authorities at the airport. The couple managed to communicate through letters, but haven’t spoken since Brittney was first arrested.
“She’s the glue for our family,” Cherelle said in an ESPN interview with Angela Rye. “She’s literally the kindest, sweetest person you’ll ever meet, and she’s very genuine.
“When we are able to communicate, through letters, she says, ‘I’m sorry I’m making your life difficult right now. But don’t give up on me. And I’m like, ‘I’m not giving up on you. This is not your fault.’”
Griner was denied house arrest and his detention was extended to 30 days on May 13. US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Friday that a US consular officer was able to meet with Griner on Thursday, May 19, for the second time in a week. and “found her continuing to do as well as could be expected in these extremely challenging circumstances.”
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