Brittney Griner's Wife Speaks Out About WNBA Star's Detention In Russia

Photo: Getty Images

As WNBA star Brittney Griner remains detained in Russia, her wife is advocating for her return to U.S. soil.

During an interview with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, Cherelle Griner said she has only been able to speak to her partner "sporadically" via letter during the nearly 100 days that Brittney has been held in a Russian prison.

Cherelle told GMA that the basketball pro has found "comfort" in the league-wide support she has received amid her detention in Russia. This year's WNBA season kicked off on May 6, and as a tribute to Brittney, all 12 teams in the league have painted her jersey number and initials on their court's sidelines.

"Things like that matter, like, it has her hopeful," Cherelle said. "It lets her know she's not forgotten."

"Those small moments, I know, give her some type of hope," the WNBA wife added.

Photo: Getty Images

Back in February, Britney was visiting Russia to play basketball during the off-season when she was arrested for allegedly having illegal vape cartridges in her possession. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was charged with "large-scale transportation of drugs" in Russia and could face up to 10 years in prison.

One week after Brittney was detained, Russia invaded Ukraine. Now, almost 100 days later, experts are concerned that the Phoenix Mercury star's detention could be used as leverage by Russian leaders.

Cherelle said, "[Brittney] wrote me one letter and was like, 'Babe, I know you wanna go down right now but like, don't just yet.'"

"I won't go down until she's back ... Every single day matters for me to be sound, for me to be alert, for me to be attentive, to make sure that she comes back," she added.

On May 3, the U.S. classified Brittney's case as "wrongfully detained" in Russia, which means the government would work to negotiate her release rather than leaving her subject to Russia's legal system.

Cherelle noted that she has taken calls with State Department spokesperson Ned Price and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken who have assured her that the administration was doing every possible to bring Brittney home.

Cherelle told GMA that she was "grateful" for the call, but she wants to speak with President Joe Biden next.

"You say she's top priority, but I wanna see it, and I feel like to see it would be me seeing BG on U.S. soil," Cherelle said.

On May 13, Brittney's pre-trial detention was extended another month as the U.S. government works towards her release.

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