Cherelle Griner has only spoken to her wife Brittney Griner “sporadically” via letter mail since she’s been detained in a Russian jail. Now, she’s demanding action from President Biden to bring the WNBA star home.
Speaking publicly about her wife’s ordeal for the first time on Good Morning America today, Griner opened up to Robin Roberts about how her wife is holding up while being held in a Russian jail facility for 100 days now.
Griner was detained in February 2022 as she entered the country to begin her stint with the Russian women’s basketball team. She was found to have a vape pen and several cartridges of hashish oil, a forbidden substance in Russia, and charged with “large-scale transportation of drugs.”
She says the news of the WNBA’s support has kept her spirits high, particularly the league’s decision to bear her initials and jersey number on the sidelines of all 12 teams’ home courts.
“Things like that matter. It has her hopeful,” Griner told Roberts, becoming emotional. “It comforts BG…it lets her know she’s not forgotten.”
“Those small moments, I know, give her some type of hope.”
But hope is no longer enough for the WNBA star’s wife of three years. Griner called on President Joe Biden specifically to step in and act on her wife’s behalf.
“I just keep hearing that, you know, he has the power. She’s a political pawn,” she said “So if they’re holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it.”
Brittney Griner’s status in Russia was officially noted as “wrongfully detained” by the Biden administration in early May. However, the supposed “more aggressive” tactics the government has promised to employ to negotiate her speedy release has not yielded a return home for the two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Griner’s wife Cherelle told Roberts that she has not spoken with Biden directly, but she was able to have a conversation with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who assured her that bringing Brittney home is top priority. But Griner says it won’t mean much to her until her wife is home safe.
“You say she’s top priority, but I want to see it,” she said. “And I feel like to see it would be me seeing BG on U.S. soil.”
Griner further revealed that she has not heard her wife’s voice nor spoken with her in real time since receiving the frantic 2 a.m. text that she was being detained upon her arrival to Russia on February 17. Since then, they have only had what she describes as “sporadic” correspondence via letters.
In one such letter, Griner revealed that Brittnay encouraged her to stay in high spirits during their time apart.
“Babe, I know you wanna go down right now but…don’t just yet,” she revealed the letter said.
“I won’t go down until she’s back,” Cherelle Griner asserted. “Every single day matters for me to be sound, for me to be alert, for me to be attentive, to make sure that she comes back.”