Basketball Player Arrested In Russia

Brittney Griner: Basketball Player Arrested In Russia, What Did She Do?

WNBA player Brittney Griner is currently detained in Russia. She was convicted of drug charges and is serving nine years in jail.

The eight-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year played for the Phoenix Mercury. She previously played college basketball for the Baylor Lady Bears in Waco, Texas.

Brittney is one of women’s basketball’s most accomplished players. named her the nation’s No. 1 high school women’s basketball player in 2009. 

Likewise, she received the Best Female Athlete ESPY Award in 2012 and signed an endorsement deal with Nike in 2013. 

Standing at an imposing height of 6 ft 9 in (206 cm), Brittney was on the U.S. women’s Olympic team in 2016, leading the team to victory at the Rio Olympics. She was also named to the national team for the 2020 Olympics, where she won her second gold medal.

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Brittney Griner: Basketball Player Arrested In Russia

WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained on drug charges in Russia in February 2022. During the second day of her trial on July 7, Brittney pled guilty. However, she said it was not her intention to break the law. She had been prescribed medicinal cannabis in Arizona, which turned out to be illegal in Russia.

Later, on August 4, the court convicted her and sentenced her to nine years. They also fined her 1 million rubles (US$16,301).

Basketball Player Arrested Brittney Griner
Brittney walks before the verdict in a court hearing on August 4, 2022. (Source: Texas Tribune)

It seems unlikely that Brittney will be released soon because the case has turned highly political. 

In May, there were reports that the U.S. and Russia were considering a prisoner swap, with Russia exchanging Brittney for international arms dealer Viktor Bout, a.k.a. the Merchant of Death.

What Did Brittney Griner Do?

Brittney Griner was detained at an airport near Moscow on February 17, 2022. She was taken to custody when vape cartridges having cannabis oil were found in her luggage and was convicted of possessing and smuggling cannabis oil in August.

The WNBA player had come to the foreign country to play club basketball during the U.S. off-season. Unsurprisingly, her case has become subject to high-profile diplomacy between Russia and the U.S., whose already rocky relations plummeted after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Brittney’s agent, Lindsay Colas, said in a statement that the basketball player was being used as a political pawn and held in Russia simply because she is American.

Lindsay also requested Americans and the global sports community to support Brittney and President Biden’s efforts to have her released. She reminded everyone that there was not much time left and that there was a need to remain focused and unified to return Brittney to her family immediately.

Brittney Griner Parents And Family Details 

Brittney Yevette Griner was born as the daughter of Raymond and Sandra Griner. Her Father, Raymond, is a former sheriff and Marine veteran who served in Vietnam. Brittney has three older siblings: Shkera, Decarlo, and Pier Griner.

A native of Houston, Texas, she openly came out as a lesbian in February 2013. Brittney married Cherelle Watson in June 2019. Cherelle later changed her name to Cherelle Griner.

Brittney Griner wife
Brittney Grinery walks hand and hand with wife Cherelle Watson. (Source: The Spun)

Brittney was previously married to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson. However, they were involved in a fight in their Phoenix home, and Police arrested both on charges of assault and disorderly conduct. Both had sustained some injuries. 

After suspensions from WNBA, weeks of domestic violence counseling, and having twin children, Ava Simone and Solei Diem, conceived with Johnson’s eggs through in vitro fertilization (IVF), the couple called it quits with the divorce finalized in June 2016.

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