WNBA players amp up calls for Brittney Griner's release

Moscow, Russia - WNBA players and union leadership increased their calls for Brittney Griner's release from a Russian prison on Saturday, which marked Griner's 100th day behind bars.

Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for 100 days, as of Saturday.
Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for 100 days, as of Saturday.  © Christian Petersen / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

"Right now, on day 100 of BG's wrongful detainment, we are calling on everyone to use their platforms, no matter the size, to bring attention to her wrongful detainment, to get (her wife) Cherelle that meeting with President Biden and to get our sister home," the Women's National Basketball Players Association said in a statement.

When Griner was detained back in February, the WNBPA and those closest to the WNBA champion and two-time gold medalist tried to keep things quiet, fearing that Griner would be treated as a political pawn.

But the US State Department declared in early May that Griner was being wrongfully detained. That changed the game plan. Cherelle Griner has been campaigning to meet with Biden.

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"To athletes, of any age, ability level, team, sport or country: this is OUR teammate," the WNBPA wrote. "A member of OUR global sports community, we need to stand up and stand together to call for her release."

Several WNBA and NBA players tweeted about Griner on Saturday.

"Brittney Griner has been illegally detained in Russia since February 17th, 2022," wrote Kyrie Irving. "I'm urging the (White House) to prioritize Brittney's safe return home immediately! #WeAreBG"

Griner could face 10 years behind bars

Griner (31) was arrested at an airport near Moscow after Russian authorities claimed she was carrying vape cartridges with hashish oil in them. She could face up to 10 years in a Russian prison.

Many WNBA players compete overseas during the league's offseason because foreign teams almost always pay better.

During Griner's detainment, US negotiators successfully secured the release of another American imprisoned in Russia, ex-Marine Trevor Reed. Reed was in the second year of a nine-year prison sentence.

He was exchanged for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot serving a 20-year federal prison sentence in Connecticut for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the US.

Cover photo: Christian Petersen / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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