Brittney Griner update: NBA working to bring WNBA star home

Sports

(NewsNation) — It’s been a long three months for WNBA star Brittney Griner, who’s still detained in Russia after vape cartridges containing cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage at an airport in Moscow.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist who plays for the Phoenix Mercury has been in custody since February, and her pretrial detention was just extended another month.

Her lawyer Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press he thinks the relatively short extension indicated that Griner’s case would go to trial soon. 

U.S. officials say Griner is being wrongfully detained.

The State Department said Tuesday that it still pushing to have regular contact with Griner, saying Russia had denied the U.S. Embassy access to visit Griner at least three times this month.

Now, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is speaking out. In an interview with ESPN, he said U.S. officials asked them to keep a low profile until Griner is home but said they’ve been on this case from the beginning.

“The commissioner of the WNBA is on this issue every single day,” Silver said. “I’m working side by side with her but we’ve been in touch with the White House the State Department hostage negotiators you know at every level of government and also through the private sector as well.”

But as time passes, concerns for her safety have intensified.

On Tuesday, officials from the U.S. Embassy in Russia tweeted, “For the third time in a month, Russian authorities have denied an Embassy visit to detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner. This is unacceptable.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says bringing Griner home is a top priority. On Tuesday, a State Department spokesperson confirmed that Blinken had a private conversation with her wife, Cherelle Griner.

Griner’s coach also took to Twitter, posting a video saying that while he has not been very vocal about the situation, he is following what’s happening overseas and that he continues to think about and pray for Griner and he’s asking all of her fans to continue to do the same.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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