WNBA player: President Joe Biden said on Thursday that US basketball star Brittney Griner had been freed in a prisoner swap with Russia and was now in US custody.
According to a US official, Griner and Griner’s wife, Cherelle, spoke via phone from the Oval Office with Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden.
According to the Russian foreign ministry, Griner was exchanged for former arms trader and Russian citizen Viktor Bout.
Welcome home, Brittney Griner 🤍
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) December 8, 2022
From the White House, where he was joined by Cherelle and government representatives, Biden declared, “She’s safe, she’s on a plane, and she’s on her way home.”
President Biden stated that Ms Griner had endured a “terrible ordeal” while being held in “intolerable circumstances.”
I’m happy to report that Britney is in high spirits and relieved to be returning home.
He said that Ms Griner “represents the best of America.”
She’ll be transported by air to a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, where she’ll also get to know her wife.
Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner.
She is safe.
She is on a plane.
She is on her way home.
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 8, 2022
After customs officers at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport discovered vape canisters containing cannabis oil in Griner’s luggage, she was held there in February.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist, 32, was eventually found guilty of cocaine possession and smuggling and sentenced to nine years in prison despite maintaining that she had made an “honest mistake” and had not intended to break the law.
Cherelle, the wife of Ms Griner, claimed to be “overwhelmed with emotions” after experiencing “one of the saddest moments of my life.”
My family is now complete, but as you are all aware, there are a great number of other families that are not.
No more days. She’s coming home 🧡
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) December 8, 2022
Cathy Engelbert, the commissioner of the WNBA, acknowledged that she became very emotional upon hearing the news. “BG has demonstrated great decency and courage in the face of overwhelming adversity.”
Although it’s not yet clear if Griner wants to play basketball again, the WNBA and USA Basketball would be happy to have her back. On May 19, the WNBA season began.
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