Brittney Griner Arrest: US Embassy Denied Access to WNBA Star by Russian Authorities

Nearly a month after WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia for carrying a vape pen, her actual whereabouts are reportedly unknown. Griner was arrested at an airport outside of Moscow on on Feb. 17. At the time, the country had not yet begun its invasion of Ukraine. Three weeks into her detainment, her arrest was made public. Griner plays in Russia in her off season for the WNBA. She's played in Russia for seven years. Despite the US Embassy's interference and trying to assist Griner, CNN reports that U.S. Representative Collin Allred said she is still being held "without official government access to her." He calls the situation "unusual and extremely concerning."

The military operation of Russian President Vladimir Putin did not occur until a week into Griner's arrest. US officials are concerned. Griner's crime could carry a sentence of 10 – 20 years in prison. "For Brittney's sake, we don't want her to become a part of this kind of political battle that's going on, and we want to make sure that her rights are respected and that we are able to get access to her, and that she can get through the process and get home as quickly as possible," Allred said.

He continued, saying all efforts are being exhausted to help her. "They should just know that our government, the State Department, folks like myself in Congress on the Foreign Affairs Committee, we're gonna do everything we can to get her home, to get any other American who's been detained unjustly home," he added.

Griner's wife, Cherrelle whom she married in 2019, broke her silence in an emotional Instagram post. "Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me regarding my wife's safe return from Russia. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated," she captioned a post of the two on a beach. 

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She continued: "I love my wife wholeheartedly, so this message comes during one of the weakest moments of my life. I understand that many of you have grown 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.