WNBA Commissioner Shows Support For Brittney Griner During 2022 Draft

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WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert opened the league's 2022 Draft voicing support for Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia for months after customs officials claimed to have found drug paraphernalia in her luggage.

"I did want to start by saying we continue to be working diligently on bringing Brittney Griner home," Englebert said in opening remarks to reporters on Monday (April 11). "This is an unimaginable situation for BG to be in."

Griner was detained in February at an airport outside of Moscow where she, like many of the leagues' players, played during the WNBA's off season. Customs officials alleged the Olympic gold medalist was smuggling a significant amount of cannabis through her carry-on luggage –– an offense that comes with a 10-year prison sentence.

"She continues to have our full support, and she's just been such a great person in the league. I can't be any more real about the situation that she's in," Englebert added. "Certainly, we're trying everything we can, every angle, working through her legal representation, her agent, elected leaders, the administration; just everybody in our ecosystem to try and find ways to get her home safely and as quickly as we can."

Englebert went on to thank WNBA players for their patience and for "following the advice that they're getting and we're getting in order not to jeopardize her safety in any way." "I know we're all frustrated," Englebert said.

Last month, WNBA All-Star Lisa Leslie revealed that members of the league were advised "not to make a big fuss" about the situation publicly because of its delicate diplomatic nature and "so that they could not use (Griner) as a pawn, so to speak, in this situation in the war."

Englebert vowed her commitment to Griner, telling reporters this week, "I used to tell my daughter when she was little –– and still now that she's in her 20s –– 'I would go to the end of the earth to help you if you're in trouble,' and I say the same thing about Brittney Griner."

In 2013, Griner, a native of Houston, Texas, was the WNBA's No.1 Draft Pick and is considered one of the leagues best players of all time.

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