The White House’s New Plan To Bring Brittney Griner Home From Russia

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New developments regarding the detention of WNBA star Brittney Griner. The U.S. State Department now classifies the Phoenix Mercury center as being wrongfully detained in Russia. Authorities there arrested Griner in February at a Moscow airport, after they say she smuggled a non-Russian approved vape device, that’s punishable by up to ten years in prison.

The new designation means more flexibility to officially negotiate her freedom, as they don’t necessarily have to wait for Russian legal proceedings to play out. Griner is set to have a hearing May 19th.

The WNBA is set to honor Griner this season as her coaches and teammates await her return. The league announced Tuesday that her initials and jersey number will be featured on the sidelines of all WNBA home courts. It will start with the season opener this Friday. The league will also allow the Mercury to continue to pay Griner’s nearly $228,000 salary, without it counting against the team’s salary cap.

In a statement released Tuesday, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert says, “As we begin the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community. We continue to work on bringing Brittney home and are appreciative of the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time.”

This episode’s panel features:
WCCB TV’s Morgan Fogarty
WCCB TV’s Kaitlin Wright
WCCB News Edge contributor and host of Live With The QCB on 94.7FM, Tremaine “QCB” Sloan