The Biden Administration has determined WNBA star Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained in Russia.
The reclassification is important because it means the United States will work more aggressively to secure her release.
Brittney has been detained in Russia since February after she was found to have a vape cartridge containing oil derived from cannabis in her bag at the airport.
Initially, U.S. officials were more concerned with ensuring Brittney had access to American consular affairs officials while in jail.
Now, her case has been shifted to a State Department section – the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs — that is focused on negotiating for the release of hostages and other Americans deemed wrongfully detained.
Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said:
Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home.
The WNBA has announced plans to acknowledge the importance of Brittney Griner.
During the 2022 season, which tips off on Friday, May 6, Brittney’s initials and jersey number (42) will be featured along the sideline of all 12 WNBA courts.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said:
As we begin the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community.
We continue to work on bringing Brittney home and are appreciative of the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time.
See the decal below.
Sending up prayers for Brittney Griner and her safe return.