US Basketball Players Call on Joe Biden to Help Get Star Detained on Cannabis Charges Released From Moscow Prison
Professional basketball players have intensified their calls for Brittney Griner’s release from Russian prison on the 100th day of the basketball star’s detention.
Griner was in Russia to play during the off-season when she was arrested on drug charges at an airport near Moscow.
Players say the Phoenix Mercury centre has been wrongfully detained and are calling on President Joe Biden to help.
NBA point guard Kyrie Irving asked the White House “to prioritize Brittney’s safe return home immediately”.
It is believed Griner was arrested when vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage.
The 31-year-old could face a sentence of up to 10 years in a Russian prison if convicted.
As calls for her release from the WNBA increase, the league’s players association put out a statement on 30 May 2022 to mark the 100th day of Griner’s detainment.
The WNBPA wrote: “We are calling on everyone to use their platforms, no matter the size, to bring attention to her wrongful detainment to get [Griner’s wife] Cherelle that meeting with President Biden and to get our sister home.”
At the beginning of May, the US State Department confirmed it believed the two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion had been “wrongfully detained”.
Russian state media said on 13 May 2022 that Griner’s pre-trial detention had been extended until 18 June.
Playing overseas in the off-season is a common way for WNBA players to increase their income and Griner has done so in Russia since 2015.
Brett Hilton Barber