Brittney Griner Reclassified As ‘Wrongfully Detained,’


According to a report from ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, the U.S. government reportedly considers WNBA star Brittney Griner to be “wrongfully imprisoned” in Russia.

image via usatoday

The decision to reclassify the 31-year-old indicates a dramatic change in how authorities will attempt to bring him back to the United States. It had previously been handled by the consulate, but now Quinn says the matter will be transferred to a special envoy’s office.

A State Department official told ESPN in a statement on Monday that the Russian Federation had illegally imprisoned American citizen Brittney Griner. Carstens will lead an interagency effort to secure the release of Brittney Griner as a result of this finding.”


The reclassification of the case will enable WNBA players and other supporters to draw as much attention to Griner’s issue as they choose, according to Quinn. To avoid jeopardising her release, the player’s personal team maintained a low profile and followed guidance from the State Department.

According to Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, “Brittney has been held for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is required to get her home.”

An eight-year veteran of the Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold winner with Team USA, Griner was detained in February at Sheremetyevo International Airport after Russian investigators claimed to have found hashish oil cartridges in her baggage. ESPN reports that a jail penalty of up to 10 years is possible for anyone found guilty of the crime.


The incarceration of Griner has been prolonged until May 19, according to Russian official media in March. According to Quinn, she has not been charged but will have a hearing on that day.

Prior to the reclassification, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Ned Price informed reporters that Griner’s safe return remained a “high priority” after the release of ex-Marine Trevor Reed in a prisoner exchange with Russia. This was the most recent update on the subject. Griner was permitted access to officials in mid-March, and they reported that she was in “excellent health,” Price claimed in a March 23 news conference.

In addition to the NBA, the WNBA has also been informed of Griner’s detainment. Cathy Engelbert, the WNBA commissioner, said the league was working with “everyone in our ecosystem” to secure the Mercury player’s safe return from Russia before the 2022 draught earlier in April.


A floor decal honouring Griner, who the league described as “in the forefront of what we do,” will be placed in the arena in 2022. The seven-time All-initials Star’s and number, 42, will appear on the decal, which will be utilised by all 12 clubs.

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