The commissioner of the WNBA is speaking out on Brittney Griner.
Cathy Engelbert calls Brittney’s Russia detainment “unacceptable.” As reported on Yahoo, before the WNBA finals tip-off, Cathy spoke on the situation. She opened her pre-Finals address by calling on the Russian government to work more with the U.S. to free B.G. She said, “We need the Russians to step up here and get the deal that the president put on the table and get that deal done and get her home safely.”
Cathy also spoke about a letter she received from Brittney. Cathy said, “I recently received a handwritten letter from B.G., and I am so inspired by her courage in the face of enormous adversity. We are fully focused on getting her home safely, and she remains such an important part of the WNBA family.” Cathy said B.G. ended the letter saying, “I’m staying strong.”
Since February 17, WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney has been detained in Russia. Russian authorities claimed they found vape cartridges while searching her luggage at a Moscow airport. Brittney admitted she mistakenly packed the canisters in her luggage. Her defense argued she was prescribed cannabis for pain. On August 4, she was found guilty of drug charges and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.
On August 15, Brittney’s defense team filed an appeal, arguing that her sentence was excessive. The U.S. government deemed Brittney “wrongfully detained” and offered a prison swap in exchange for her release. NPR reports, “Washington has offered to free Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S. and once earned the nickname the ‘Merchant of Death.’