WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained in Moscow last month on purported drug charges.
The Phoenix Mercury center was apprehended at a Moscow airport after Russian officials claimed a search of her luggage uncovered vape cartridges. Because the cartridges were identified as containing oil derived from cannabis, Griner now faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
Complicating matters further is America’s currently awful diplomatic relationship with Russia. The two countries are on polar opposite sides of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which could mean bad news for Griner.
This week, a U.S. lawmaker weighed in on what the foreseeable future looks like for Griner.
“Our diplomatic relationships with Russia are nonexistent at the moment,” Democratic Rep. John Garamendi of California told CNN on Monday.
“Perhaps during the various negotiations that may take place, she might be able to be one of the solutions. I don’t know.”
Garamendi went on to add that Russia has some “very, very strict LGBT rules and laws,” which further muddle the situation.
In a testament to how bad things are looking for Griner right now, the lone good news she has received is that the United States is aware of her case.
“The best news we got today was that they know about it and that she’s on the agenda,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents Griner’s hometown of Houston, Texas, said this week.
Griner is facing a very scary path forward right now. After having played in Russia for each of the last seven years, and earning more than $1 million per season in the process, she likely felt it was safe to do so again this year.
Obviously neither she nor anyone on her team could have foreseen how the world would change in a relatively short amount of time.
Now it feels like her only hope for freedom is President Joe Biden.
The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/1uY8SZ5kVu
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 7, 2022
This is not the first time an American president has had to get involved in a matter like this, unfortunately. But circumstance have changed a lot since it last occurred.
Will President Biden and the rest of the United States’ lawmakers ultimately be able to save Griner? Time will tell.