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Petition started to get WNBA star Brittney Griner back to U.S.

Brittney Griner Russia mugshot
Active pro athletes who have played in the Valley for at least 4 years
Posted at 3:02 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 14:22:13-05

Brittney Griner’s wife Cherelle has thanked everyone for their support of the WNBA star, who was arrested last month in Russia.

Cherelle Griner posted a picture Sunday on Instagram of her with the Phoenix Mercury center.

She also posted on Monday, writing, "...there’s not a task in this world that could keep any of us from worrying about you. My heart, our hearts, are all skipping beats every day that goes by. ...There are no words to express this pain..."

There has been an outpouring of support for Griner on social media from WNBA players as well as other athletes. Many have voiced their concerns for Griner’s physical well-being as well as her mental health.

Griner was detained at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges. They were identified as containing oil derived from cannabis.

Very little information has been released by Russian or U.S authorities, about how Griner is being detained and what the status is of potential hearings.

A report from The New York Times states Griner was taken into custody during the investigation and "a criminal case has been opened into the large-scale transportation of drugs, which can carry a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars in Russia."

Some fans and supporters are now concerned that not enough is being done to help get Griner back to the states.

"We have no idea and the people, whoever does know -- those people are not talking," said Tamryn Spruill, an author and journalist.

An online petition was started to "Secure Brittney Griner's Swift and Safe Return to the U​.​S."

"I think it would be great for people in our government, but then also in sports, to really be speaking out about this and making an issue," said Spruill. "I feel like the WNBA and the Phoenix Mercury, everybody's been kind of quiet about it."

There seems to be a reluctance to talk openly about Griner's situation because not only the alleged possession technically illegal, but no one wants to anger Russian officials as a ten-year sentence hangs over Griner.

"Whenever an American is detained, anywhere in the world, we, of course, stand ready to provide every possible assistance, and that includes in Russia," said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Arizona's U.S Senators also addressing the situation on Monday.

A spokesperson for Senator Krysten Sinema telling ABC15:

“Senator Sinema and her team continue to engage with the U.S. State Department to ensure Ms. Griner is safe and has the appropriate support and assistance.”

Senator Mark Kelly's team writing:

“Senator Kelly’s concern is for Brittney Griner’s well-being and safe return, and we are working with the State Department to ensure this is a top priority.”