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U.S. government now says Brittney Griner has been 'wrongfully detained' in Russia

May 6, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

ESPN reports that the new designation means that U.S. officials will not wait for the case to work its way through Russia’s legal system and will instead focus on negotiating Griner’s return

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The U.S. government believes basketball star Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia. The reclassification signals an expanded effort is now underway to bring her home.

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“With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release,” a spokesperson for the Department of State told ESPN earlier this week.


  1. ‘It could have been any of us’: Brittney Griner’s USA Basketball teammates speak up

  2. FILE: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during Game Three of the 2021 WNBA semifinals at Desert Financial Arena on October 03, 2021 in Tempe, Arizona. / PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES

    Free Brittney Griner trends online as WNBA star arrested and detained in Russia for having vape cartridges in her baggage

  3. FILE: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during Game Three of the 2021 WNBA semifinals at Desert Financial Arena on October 03, 2021 in Tempe, Arizona. /

    Russia has released ex-marine Trevor Reed. What does that mean for Brittney Griner?

Detained since February after a search of her luggage allegedly revealed cannabis vape cartridges at a Moscow-area airport, few details have emerged about Griner’s case in Russia. The relative silence has been attributed to avoiding inflaming delicate negotiations that are reportedly happening in the background.

The new designation means that U.S. officials will not wait for the case to work its way through Russia’s legal system and will instead focus on negotiating her immediate return. Sources close to the matter declined to comment to ESPN about what has led to the reclassification.

Griner’s supporters no longer need to worry about staying tight-lipped, either. Per ESPN, they have the family’s blessing to bring as much attention to her case as they wish.

“It has been 75 days that our friend, teammate, sister, Brittney Griner, has been wrongfully detained in Russia,” tweeted Griner’s former teammate, Brianna Turner, earlier this week. “It is time for her to come home.”

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In a statement, Nneka Ogwumike, the president of the WNBA players’ union, said they are hopeful that the U.S. government’s efforts will “be significant, swift and successful.”

ESPN reports that former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson has taken over Griner’s case. Richardson was also working on Trevor Reed’s case, a former U.S. Marine who was released in April after being detained in Russia for nearly three years.

Reed had been accused of allegedly endangering the lives of two police officers during a visit to Moscow in 2019.

Jonathan Franks, the campaign spokesman for Reed, told CNN in March that Griner’s case has the “hallmarks of a very wrongful and arbitrary detention.”

“They’re making her out to sound like a drug kingpin. I think that it is unlikely that Ms. Griner will get a fair trial,” he said.

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Griner was in Russia to play for a local team. WNBA players can earn four to five times their U.S. salaries by playing in the country, NBC reports.

“The big thing is the fact that we have to go over there. It was BG, but it could have been anybody,” Breanna Stewart, the top pick in the 2017 WNBA draft, told The Associated Press. “WNBA players need to be valued in their country and they won’t have to play overseas.”

The WNBA announced earlier this week that a floor decal, featuring Griner’s initials and jersey number, will be placed on the home-court sideline for every team for the upcoming season.

“As we begin the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “We continue to work on bringing Brittney home and are appreciative of the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time.”

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