On February 17th, 2022, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Brittney Griner was arrested and detained in Russia. One week later, Russia launched a full invasion and attack on Ukraine, leaving the United States basketball player trapped in the country in active war. While it is rumored that Griner was detained in an effort from Russia to keep the United States out of the fight, Americans all over the country are worried for the basketball legend.
Brittney Griner is arguably one of the greatest WNBA players of all time. In her most recent season, Griner averaged 20.5 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game, and 1.9 blocks per game. After being the number one overall pick in the 2013 draft from Baylor University, she is a seven-time WNBA All-Star, a six-time member of the All-WNBA teams, two-time WNBA defensive player of the year, and a member of the WNBA All-Defensive team three times. She is a WNBA Champion, winning the title with the Phoenix Mercury in 2014, a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, and an NCAA Division 1 National Champion. Griner’s star-studded resume shows her dominance on the court, and her peers’ description of her has shown her talent goes off the court as well.
Currently, the WNBA is in their off-season, leaving the players to practice on their game for the upcoming season. Griner decided that she would play in the Russian league during her free time. While in Moscow, she was taken into custody for allegedly having vape cartridges filled with cannabis oil. Griner was detained on the 17th of February and exactly a week later, Russia invaded Ukraine. While this invasion is all over the news, the Griner arrest was pushed aside. Griner, however, was still being held in Russia and it was thought Russia was holding the WNBA star in order to keep the United States away from helping Ukraine.
Griner is currently still being held in Russia and the United States government is “doing everything [they] can”, as said by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. With the ongoing battle between Russia and Ukraine, there is no timetable on when Griner will return to the United States or when it will be safe enough for her to leave.