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US WNBA star Brittney Griner arrested in Russia with cannabis vape catridges in her suitcase



Brittney Griner, a popular WNBA player, was arrested at the Russian airport, according to a Russian state media site on Saturday.

There was no public information available about when she was arrested.

Griner has spent her whole professional career with the Phoenix Mercury, although she, like many WNBA players, spends her offseasons playing basketball overseas, where players may earn substantially more money.


She has been a member of the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg since 2015, and last year she assisted them in winning the EuroLeague Women championship. She is one of the top female basketball players in the world, as well as one of the most visible openly homosexual athletes.

Friends, fans, WNBA teammates, and her wife are worried that she may become a political pawn as Russia suffers unprecedented worldwide sanctions and isolation as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.


Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) told CNN that bringing her out of Russia will be “extremely tough.” “At the present, our diplomatic contacts with Russia are nonexistent,” he says, adding that “Russia has some very, very severe LGBT norms and legislation.”

The New York Times writes that “public pleas by American authorities for the release of Americans jailed overseas often have little influence on foreign kidnappers.”


“Such cases are frequently resolved through backstage diplomacy,” according to the article, and “some analysts said that bringing the case into the political arena with angry demands could make it more difficult to resolve and put pressure on the other country not to be seen as giving in without a clear win.”

Tamryn Spruill, a sports writer, explained to CNN on Tuesday why she is still attempting to raise public awareness of Griner’s arrest.


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