“She Has No One”: Brittney Griner’s Wife Describes The Deteriorating Shape Of The Former WNBA Star “I don’t know if she has…”
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Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, described how she and Brittney are feeling as the WNBA star remains locked up in a Russian prison. In an interview with Gayle King of CBS Morning, Cherelle talked about Brittney’s emotional state.
In February of this year, Griner was arrested in Russia. In addition to playing for the Phoenix Mercury, Griner has played for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinberg during the WNBA offseason.
While at the Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow in February, vape cartridges containing hashish oil were found in the gold medalist’s luggage as she went through security.
A video was released by the Russian Federal Customs Service showing a person who appears to be Griner. A criminal case was opened in regard to the “large-scale transportation of drugs.”
In Russia, a charge like this can carry a 10-year stint in a Russian jail. Her sentence was handed down in August and she was sentenced to 9 years behind bars on charges of smuggling drugs into the country.
The case is under appeal and the hearings are set to begin on October 25th.
In the interview, Cherelle said that she considers Brittney a “hostage.”
“On its face, it just seems like my wife is a hostage. To know that our government and the foreign government is sitting down and negotiating for her release? She’s a hostage,” Cherelle said.
Cherelle is holding out hope that the Biden administration will broker a deal via a prisoner swap between Russia and the U.S. and bring her wife home before the hearing on the 25th.
Cherelle had a meeting at the White House last month and believes that President Biden is working towards getting Brittney released.
In referring to the president, she told King, “He’s doing what he can. But there’s another party in this situation, and we also are dealing with the need for Russia to have mercy on B.G. as well.”
After a recent phone call with Brittney, Cherelle said, “I don’t know if she has anything left in her tank to continue to wake up every day and be in a place where she has no one”
Cherelle has another big concern, what if the hearing goes the other way?
“Once that hearing is held, and the order is finalized, B.G.’s now in the position where she could be moved to a labor camp. My brain can’t even fathom it.”
The WNBA player has a prescription for medical cannabis in Arizona for chronic pain. Russia has a policy where no amount of cannabis is legal.
Cherelle acknowledges that she’s aware that crimes deserve proper punishment, but the sentence should match the crime, saying, “it must be balanced.”
Cherelle was unable to speak to Brittney until August, six months after B.G. was detained. She described hearing Brittney’s voice in that first phone call as “delightful.”
For now, Charelle will continue to pray for Brittney’s release, hoping she’ll be back in the U.S. to celebrate her 32nd birthday on October 18th.