Two times Olympic and Seven times WNBA winner is in hot waters because of an alleged drug case. Britney Griner and her fans are asking for immediate help from authorities. Some are saying it is a deliberate controversy because of a rift between USA and Russia.
Widely agreed to be the best female basketball player of all time, Britney Griner is one of a small number to have won a college championship, WNBA and Euro League titles, and Olympic gold medals. As is common for female basketball players. 31 years old athlete has played for a Russian team during the WNBA off-season since 2015. Roughly half of all WNBA players compete overseas during the off-season.
Griner was arrested last month at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges. The Russian Customs Service said Saturday that the cartridges were identified as containing oil derived from cannabis. Which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The customs service identified the person arrested as a player for the U.S. women’s team and did not specify the date of her arrest. Russian media reported the player was Griner, and her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, did not dispute those reports. Now her detention is extended up to 19 May. She may or may not have to face life in prison in this case.
“It is an extremely sensitive situation,” said Representative Colin Allred, Democrat of Texas, who said he was working with the State Department to have Griner released. He added, “What we’re trying to do now, of course, is be helpful and not do anything that’ll place Brittney in any kind of danger or make her situation worse.”
Fan’s Demands and Authorities efforts
Meanwhile, her wife and fans are demanding her release immediately. They showered all the social media platforms with tweets and posts for Britney Griner. Griner’s wife, Cherelle, asked for privacy as the situation unfolds. “I love my wife wholeheartedly,” in a Instagram post “so this message comes during one of the weakest moments of my life. I understand that many of you have grown to love BG over the years and have concerns and want details. Please honor our privacy as we continue to work on getting my wife home safely.”
However, the USA authorities are working hard to bring her back. They are investigating and finding clues that will prove her innocence. A representative at WNBA said “closely monitoring the situation,” it said in a statement. “We remain in constant contact with her family, her representation, the WNBA, and NBA. We love and support Brittney and at this time our main concern is her safety, physical and mental health, and her safe return home.”
Organizations such as the WNBA, the Phoenix Mercury, and the WNBA players’ union have shared their concerns for Griner and their hopes for her safety. The WNBA’s other players have left Russia and Ukraine.
Weird timing if her arrest
The timing of the arrest was unclear. Beyond that it happened last month and there has been no communication from Griner, whose most recent social media post, was Feb 5. But the news coincides with the Russian Invasion in Ukraine. Whereas, United States and other Western and NATO nations have enacted sanctions against Russia and have Supported Ukraine with Military equipment.
The State Department issued an advisory not to travel to Russia in response to the “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine”. And the possible “harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials.”
The department added that U.S. citizens should leave Russia immediately. Because the embassy had “limited ability to assist U.S. citizens.” Russia has very strict rules regarding drugs and irregularities. Let’s see how this case takes turms and whether the poor player gets her freedom or not.