WNBA star Brittney Griner sends thanks for support from Russian detainment

On her 243rd day in Russian detainment, Brittney Griner became 32.

On an afternoon generally supposed for birthday celebration, Griner met together with her legal professionals to arrange for her attraction listening to on Oct. 25.

“Thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home. All the support and love are definitely helping me,” Griner mentioned in a observation from her agent.

Griner used to be reported to be at her “absolute weakest moment in life” previous this month, however “did smile” on her birthday, her legal professionals instructed the Associated Press.

Contributing to Griner’s declining morale is, partly, a terror of being “left and forgotten in Russia,” Griner’s wife Cherelle told CBS Mornings.

On her birthday “We are BG” and “Happy Birthday BG” trended on Twitter as teammates, friends and fans of Griner’s used social media to remember, uplift and celebrate the two-time Olympic gold medalist “today and all days.” Here are some of those dedications:

In a highlight from the NBA’s opening night, Finals MVP Stephen Curry interrupted his ring birthday celebration speech sooner than the Warriors’ sport to talk about Griner.

“We want to continue to let her name be known, and we pray — it’s been 243 days since she’s been wrongfully incarcerated in Russia — we hope that she comes home soon and that everybody’s doing their part to bring her home,” Curry said.

The tributes kept coming on Thursday night, too. Jordan Clarkson, Kyrie Irving and Udonis Haslem were among those who mentioned Griner in some way before their respective home openers.

The fight to bring BG home

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, stands inside a defendants' cage during the reading of the court's verdict in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia since February (REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool).

The effort to keep Griner’s name at the forefront of everyone’s mind is only part of the strategy to secure the six-time All WNBA player’s freedom.

Griner’s lawyers have continued to work on her behalf since her Feb. 17 arrest where she was found to be carrying less than a gram of hash oil in her luggage through Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. Griner was traveling to play for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg. According to her lawyers, Griner was prescribed cannabis for pain, and inadvertently packed the oil with no criminal intent.

Griner was convicted Aug. 4 in a notably fast ruling and received a nine-year sentence, longer than most Russians receive for similar offenses. Though the appeal will likely not overturn the verdict, Griner’s lawyers are looking for a positive outcome. “We hope the term of the sentence will be reduced,” Maria Blagovolina, a partner at the law firm, told the Associated Press.

The WNBA champion could be involved in a potential swap of prisoners between Russia and the United States. In July, Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed publicly that Washington had made a “substantial proposal” for Griner’s freedom that also included efforts for the release of Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage.

According to many reports, Washington offered to exchange Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer also known as the “Merchant of Death” who is serving a 25-year sentence in America.

The White House mentioned they proceed makes an attempt to barter.

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