Apr 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

WNBA working to bring Brittney Griner home "safely and quickly," commissioner says

Photo of Brittney Griner holding aiming a basketball in the air on a court as she wears a white and orange Phoenix Mercury uniform
Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury shoots a free throw against the Las Vegas Aces during the 2021 WNBA semifinals on Oct. 8, 2021, in Las Vegas. Photo: David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said Monday that the league is working with "everybody in our ecosystem" to bring WNBA star Brittney Griner home "as safely and quickly as we can."

Why it matters: Griner was arrested at an airport near Moscow and accused of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance in early March after agents said they found cannabis oil in her luggage. The State Department has since warned that Kremlin security officials may "single out and detain U.S. citizens" in Russia and Ukraine.

  • A Moscow court has extended Griner's detention until May 19, and it's unclear when she'll be able to return to the U.S. The U.S. embassy had limited contact with her in March.

What she's saying: "This is an unimaginable situation" for Griner, Engelbert said at the top of the WNBA Draft on Monday.

  • "We are trying everything we can, every angle, working through with her legal representation, her agent, elected leaders, the administration, just everybody in our ecosystem to get her home as safely and quickly as we can."
  • "She continues to have our full support," she added.

The big picture: Griner is not the only American whose detention has made headlines. Trevor Reed, a former Marine who has been wrongfully detained in Russia since 2019, is scheduled for an appeal hearing in a Russian court on Tuesday.

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