Sport

WNBA’s Brittney Griner is in ‘good condition’ US officials say

Maggie Baska March 24, 2022
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Brittney Griner, a basketball player, wears a red Team USA jersey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Team USA's Brittney Griner shoots a free throw against Nigeria during the Women's Preliminary Round Group B game at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (Getty/Gregory Shamus)

WNBA star Brittney Griner is said to be in “good condition” after meeting with a US official for the first time she was detained in Russia. 

An official from the US embassy in Moscow was allowed to visit Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist who plays for Phoenix Mercury, on Tuesday (22 March). 

US state department spokesman Ned Price confirmed to CNN that the visit was the first time an official government official had been given access to the 31-year-old since mid-February.

Price said the official found Griner to “be in good condition”, and the US government would be doing “everything we can” to ensure she is being “treated fairly throughout this ordeal”. 

“We were able to check on her condition, we will continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network, to see to it that she is treated fairly,” Price said. 

The seven-time WNBA All-Star was detained in February after customs officials at an airport near Moscow allegedly found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. 

News of her arrest didn’t make headlines until early March, and Russian state TV only recently released a photograph of the queer athlete holding up a piece of paper

Griner’s arrest also comes as the US has placed increasing sanctions on Russia after Vladimir Putin ordered military forces to invade Ukraine. There have been concerns that Griner could potentially be used as a “high profile hostage” as tensions rise between the US and Russia. 

Last week, Russian news agency TASS reported that Brittney Griner’s detention will be extended until 19 May

The Associated Press reported that Griner’s lawyers have been able to visit her regularly, but the legal team declined to comment on her ongoing case. 

Griner has played professional basketball in Russia for the last seven years, and she had played for her Russian team the UMMC Ekaterinburg on 29 January just before the league went on a two-week break.

Over a dozen WNBA players have played in Russia and Ukraine this winter, and the WNBA confirmed that all players besides Brittney Griner had left both countries.

More: brittney griner, Russia Ukraine war

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