Brittney Griner’s Russia Detention ‘Totally Gut-Wrenching,’ Sister Says

  • WNBA superstar Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia for more than 100 days.
  • Her eldest sister, SheKera Griner, broke her silence to call on the US government to bring Brittney home.
  • “It’s been totally gut-wrenching for myself and my family,” SheKera said of her sister’s situation.

Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia for more than 100 days.

And now, Griner’s eldest sister is breaking her silence in hopes it’ll help bring the WNBA superstar home.

On Thursday, SheKera Griner offered her first public statement since her sister’s February arrest. In a minutes-long video, she issues an emotional plea to President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the US government at large “to please do whatever necessary to bring our sister home safely and quickly.”

Brittney Griner.

Griner with Team USA.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall


“For 100 days I have not seen my Brit,” SheKera said. “It’s been totally gut-wrenching for myself and my family — her mom and dad, my siblings, myself.”

“I don’t wish this on anyone,” she added.

Griner, the 6-foot-9 center for the Phoenix Mercury, was taken into Russian custody after customs agents at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport claimed they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. She faces up to 10 years in prison for her charges, and experts have told Insider the two-time Olympic gold medalist “will not be afforded a fair and equitable legal process.”

Brittney Griner

Griner leaves a courtroom after a May 13 hearing in Russia.

AP


The Biden administration quietly worked to negotiate her release and safe return to the US in the early days following her arrest, which WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told Insider was part of an internal strategy to “say less and push more privately.” But early in May, the US shifted its approach by officially designating Griner as “wrongfully detained” — a move that sends a “strong signal that the US government does not believe that there is a legitimate case against her,” one expert who has navigated several hostage situations previously told Insider.

It also enabled the seven-time All-Star’s friends, family, teammates, and supporters to openly campaign for her return to the States.

Griner’s wife, Cherelle, has made several TV appearances in recent weeks in an effort to draw attention to the case. She explained that she has not spoken to President Biden but is eager to do so to help bring “my person back.”

Brittney Griner high fives her Phoenix Mercury teammates.

Griner high fives her Phoenix Mercury teammates.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson


SheKera offered similar sentiments Thursday and thanked “everyone” supporting her sister — including the WNBA and NBA — for “keeping her name out there and not allowing her to be forgotten.”

“We ask that you continue to send out prayers for Brittney as well as her family,” SheKera concluded. “We pray that this whole ordeal is wrapped up as quickly as possible, to get her back home safe and sound with her family, where she belongs. Again, thank you all.”

You can watch SheKera’s full video, offered to Insider courtesy of the Griner family, below:

 

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