Wife of Russia-detained basketballer appeals to Biden
Brittney Griner's wife Cherelle believes that US President Joe Biden can use his power to see the WNBA basketball player freed from Russian custody.
The Phoenix Mercury center was arrested at Moscow Airport after a search revealed vape cartridges allegedly containing hashish oil in her luggage.
With Griner facing a 10-year stretch in prison in Russia, the Biden administration is already certain that the 31-year-old is being wrongfully detained. According to Cherelle Griner, however, who last heard her partner's voice on February 17 when she was detained, Biden can step in and bring her back to their homeland.
"There is one person that can go get her, and that's our president," Griner explained on Good Morning America.
"He has that power. You know, I'm just like, 'Why are we not using it? Like, urgently, use it.' We're expecting him to use his power to get it done."
"I'm in a position of complete vulnerability right now. I have to trust people that I didn't even know until February 17," Cherelle Griner, who has already spoken to US Secretary of State Antony Bilnken as well as the commissioners of the NBA and WNBA, admitted.
"So I'm trusting her lawyers. ... 'How does she look? How is her spirit? How is her energy?' I'm just asking all those questions, trying to just get some type of indication or vibe.
"Some days they say: 'She's really strong... She seemed in good spirits when we talked.' And sometimes they'll say: 'Her energy was really low.'," Cherelle Griner explained.
With Brittney Griner returning to Russia to finish the season for UMMC Ekaterinburg upon her arrest, Cherelle Griner is also frustrated by feeling that there would have been greater urgency on the part of the US government if her wife was an NBA player being held in Russia.
"We do live in a world that, the bigger the platform, the bigger the urgency," Cherelle Griner highlighted, while also pointing to many WNBA players having to compete overseas in the winter as they don't get paid enough on home soil.
"She just said she was so exhausted from always having to go overseas," Cherelle added of the 2013 draft's first pick. "So we talked about it, and I was like: 'Let's just make this your last year overseas then.'
"I'm just so sorry she's going through this. Like, it kills me," Cherelle Griner lamented.
While a trio of US representatives have called for Griner's release, former UN ambassador Bill Richardson is also working on it.
"The Russians held them, I believe, as bargaining chips," Richardson, who secured former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed's freedom from Russian detention in April, told HBO this week.
"They want something in return. Usually another prisoner, a Russian, in the United States. I'm convinced the Russians are going to ask for something in return, because Brittney Griner is very high profile.
"What makes it doable is that the president of the United States is ready to consider prisoner exchanges, which we haven't [done] too much in the past."
For Cherelle Griner, though, she just wants "the glue to our family" back home as soon as possible.
"She is literally the kindest, sweetest person you will ever meet, and it's very genuine," Griner said.
"When we have been able to communicate, via letters, she's like: 'I am so sorry I'm making your life hard right now. Don't give up on me, though.' And I'm like: 'I'm not going to give up on you. This isn't your fault.'," Cherelle Griner concluded.