Cherelle Griner on the detention of his wife Brittney Griner: “He’s a political pawn”

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Cherelle Griner, wife of Brittney Griner, wants President Joe Biden and the US government to use their power to bring the WNBA star home. Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since February.

In an interview with “Good Morning America” ​​co-anchor Robin Roberts that aired Wednesday, Cherelle Griner called on Biden to take action.

“I keep hearing he has the power,” Griner said. “He is a political pawn. So if they’re holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it.

Brittney Griner has been taken into custody at a Moscow airport for alleged possession of hash oil. Russian authorities have charged Griner with “large-scale drug trafficking,” which could mean up to 10 years in prison, but the U.S. government considers her “wrongfully detained.”

The seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist has played for Russian club UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason since 2015. In an interview Wednesday with ESPN, Cherelle Griner revealed that this was to be his wife’s final season. abroad. .

“She just said she was so exhausted from always having to go overseas,” Cherelle Griner said. “So we talked about it, and I was like, ‘Let’s just make this your last year abroad then.’

“I’m so sorry that she’s going through this. Like, it’s killing me.

Former United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson, who served as Governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011 and helped negotiate the recent release of former US Marine Trevor Reed from Russia, has helped in Griner’s case.

“The Russians were holding [Reed and Griner], I believe, as a bargaining chip,” Richardson told Bryant Gumbel in an interview on HBO’s “Real Sports” that aired Tuesday night. “They want something in return. Usually another prisoner, a Russian, in the United States. I’m sure the Russians are going to ask for something in return, because Brittney Griner is very high profile.

“What makes this feasible is that the President of the United States is willing to consider prisoner exchanges, which we have not. [done] too much in the past.

Russian media have reported that the United States and Russia are considering possibly exchanging Griner for Victor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer in the United States. But Alexander Boikov, Griner’s lawyer, said he had not received any information about a possible exchange.

Cherelle Griner awaits any movement in Brittney’s case. She has had no verbal communication with his wife since before Brittney Griner’s arrest.

“I’m in a position of total vulnerability right now,” she said. “So I trust his lawyers. … ‘What does she look like? How is his mind? How is his energy? I’m just asking all these questions, just trying to get some type of cue or vibe.

“Some days they say, ‘She’s really strong. … She seemed in a good mood when we talked. And sometimes they say, ‘Her energy was really low.’ »

The couple communicated by letter, and Cherelle Griner revealed that the outpouring of support Brittney has received from the WNBA has brought “comfort” to the star player during her confinement.

The WNBA is honoring Griner this season with a floor sticker bearing his initials and jersey number (42) on the sidelines of each pitch. Additionally, each team hosts a shoe drive for Griner’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive.

“Things like that matter, like, it gives her hope,” Cherelle Griner told Roberts. “It lets her know she’s not forgotten. Those little moments, I know, give her a kind of hope.

For her part, Cherelle Griner is encouraging support and awareness as she pushes for the return of the woman she calls “the glue of our family.”

“When we were able to communicate, through letters, she was like, ‘I’m so sorry to make your life difficult right now. Don’t give up on me, though,'” Griner said. won’t give up on you. It’s not your fault.’

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