Griner’s Home


Dina Stitou, Forum Writer

The eight-time WNBA All-Star, Britney Griner, was finally released from her detainment in Russia on December 8th, 2022, a 10 month ordeal that was initially set to last for nearly a decade.  

The exchange between Griner and the Russian prisoner, Viktor Bout, a convicted arms dealer often referred to as ‘the merchant of death’, took place in the United Arab Emirates last month with President Biden’s approval. 

According to CBS News, in February of 2022, Griner was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow when the Russian Federal Customs Service discovered cartridges containing marijuana concentrate oil in her luggage.

Griner was also fined 1 million Russian rubles as a consequence.

Due to the public’s support for Griner’s release, this was not a case easy to forget.

According to the White House  press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, “…despite a lack of good faith negotiation by the Russians, the U.S. Government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with the Russians through all available channels”.

Griner’s case has left a significant impact by helping other detainees overseas return home.

“The U.S. Government is unwavering in its commitment to its work on behalf of Brittney and other Americans detained in Russia – including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan” said Jean-Pierre. 

On Oct. 6th, 2022, CBS Mornings released a statement from Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, describing Griner’s circumstances in Russia  as “terrifying”.

Griner arrived in San Antonio Texas on Dec. 11th 2022 and completed a medical evaluation upon her arrival to the United States, a standard procedure for freed prisoners like Griner.

Griner’s absence caused protests and outbursts across several social media platforms from the LGBTQ+ community, feminists, the black community, and WNBA supporters.

Abigail Barquist, a highschooler and WNBA fanatic that has personally met Griner, said she was intrigued by the news. 

“She’s a tall, black, gay woman, so she’s definitely out there inspiring and representing several communities,” said Barquist.

Diane Foley, the mother of a soldier that was killed in war in the Middle East, said “The primary captors are state actors. They are deliberately targeting our citizens who go out into the world for travel as businessmen, journalists, aid workers or as family, and then are used as political pawns to directly interfere with our foreign policy and economy. It’s becoming harder to resolve”.

Foley worked for months to help bring Griner home without ever meeting her.

According to the New York Times, the family of Emad Shargi, an American who has not been allowed to leave Iran for over four years, said after Ms. Griner’s release that their request for a meeting with Mr. Biden had not been granted”.

Griner’s platform was essential to her release from Russia.

Other wrongfully detained Americans and war veterans are just as deserving to come home.

For legal assistance for detained people seeking asylum, contact the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) hotline or American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).