WNBA superstar Brittney Griner could be in Russian custody for a long time.
The New York Times reports that Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner was detained in Russia after officials found hashish oil in her luggage while at an airport near Moscow. The newspaper sources a statement released from the Russian Federal Customs Service that also released surveillance footage showing a 6’9 individual that appears to be Griner going through airport security.
In a statement to ESPN, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent with Wasserman Group, said, “We are aware of the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representation in Russia, her family, her teams, and the WNBA and NBA. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are not able to comment further on the specifics of her case but can confirm that as we work to get her home, her mental and physical health remain our primary concern.”
“Brittney Griner has the WNBA’s full support, and our main priority is her swift and safe return to the United States,” the league told the Disney-owned sports network.
“We are aware of the situation in Russia concerning one of our members, Brittney Griner. Our utmost concern is BG’s safety and well-being,” the WNBA Players’ union told ESPN in a statement on Saturday. “On behalf of The 144, we send our love and support. We will continue to closely monitor and look forward to her return to the U.S.”
Griner’s team, the Phoenix Mercury, told ESPN it was in “constant contact” with her family, her representation, and both 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,” the team told ESPN.
“We are aware of the situation in Russia concerning one of our members, Brittney Griner. Our utmost concern is BG’s safety and well-being,” the WNBA Players’ union said in a statement to ESPN. “On behalf of The 144, we send our love and support. We will continue to closely monitor and look forward to her return to the U.S.”
Like her fellow WNBA hoopers, Griner, 31, plays overseas during the winter months, something NBA players don’t have to do because they are better compensated. Griner and other WNBA players we’re leaving Russia for the past week following the country’s unjust invasion of Ukraine on the order of President Vladimir Putin. According to reports, Griner has been detained for three weeks.
Due to the ongoing Ukraine invasion and countries uniting against Russia, some believe Griner could suffer directly because of the situation and be detained for a long time. Former ESPN anchor Cari Champion believes it “will change the landscape of how women play overseas to make their money.”
There has also been an outpouring of support for Griner, with the #FreetBrittney hashtag quickly picking up steam on Twitter.
You can peep more reactions to Griner being detained and tweets calling for her immediate release below.
Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty