The WNBA and NBA have called for the release of Brittney Griner, the two-time Olympic gold medalist, after she was found guilty of drug charges. He was sentenced to nine years in prison On Thursday.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a joint statement shortly after news of Griner’s punishment that she was “wrongfully detained.” Echoes the sentiment of the White House On Thursday,
“Today’s verdict and sentence are unfair and unfortunate, but not unexpected, and Brittney Griner was wrongfully incarcerated,” the statement read. “WNBA and NBAs The commitment to her safe return remains undiminished and our hope is that this process of finally bringing BG to the United States is nearing completion.”
President Biden issued a statement earlier calling the trial and subsequent punishment “unacceptable.”
WNBA coach Becky Hammon calls on Russia to ‘do the right thing’ ahead of Brittney Griner’s punishment
“Today, American citizen Britney Griner received a prison sentence, another reminder of what the world already knows: Russia is wrongfully detaining Britney,” Biden said in a statement.
“This is unacceptable, and I urge Russia to immediately release her so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and colleagues. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every avenue possible to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely. As soon as possible.”
Prosecutors in Griner’s case had asked for a 9.5-year prison sentence, but last month the court upheld a nine-year sentence in light of Griner’s guilty plea. She was also fined 1 million rubles, about $16,200.
Six-time WNBA All-Star and current head coach South Carolina Gamecocks Dan Staley took to social media to respond to the news of Griner’s sentencing.
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Rebecca Koffler, Russian-born former US intelligence officer and Expert on Russia and Vladimir PutinSpeaking to Fox News Digital on Thursday, Griner said negotiating a deal to secure his release was not easy to navigate.
“Ms. Griner is the victim of a crisis in US-Russian relations, one of the worst in history, and it will be a long road for her after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, especially when the truth comes to light. Even if Britney admits to violating Russian law, the US side considers Ms. Griner’s arrest illegal,” explained Kofler. .
“The Biden administration calls Griner ‘wrongfully detained,’ so it’s a clash of two legal systems. Putin will do everything possible to force Washington to recognize the case as legitimate. In truth, Putin has the power to release Griner. She was convicted, but he’s getting the maximum from the Biden administration.” He won’t until he gets concessions.”
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United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken revealed last week The Biden administration has offered a “substantial proposal.” For the return of basketball player and fellow American Paul Whelan.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday that Russia had reacted in “bad faith” to the US government’s proposal. She didn’t explain.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.