Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russia

“I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city [Yekaterinburg] for the mistake I made and the embarrassment I brought on her,” Griner said in her statement. “I also want to apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization back home, the amazing women of the WNBA and my amazing spouse back home.”

In response to her ruling, President Joe Biden suggested Russia “wrongly arrested” Griner and said he would “use all possible avenues” to bring her home.

“This is unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately to be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates,” Biden said in a statement. “My administration will continue to work diligently and will do whatever it takes to get Brittney and Paul Whelan safely home as quickly as possible.”

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also released a joint statement condemning the ruling.

“Today’s verdict and sentencing is unjustified and unfortunate, but not unexpected, and Brittney Griner remains unjustly incarcerated,” they said in the process to finally bring BG home to the United States.”

Griner previously testified that she used cannabis oil prescribed by her doctor to treat pain from sports injuries, but packed her bags in a hurry and had no plans to take them to Russia, where she was playing in the WNBA offseason. “Since they accidentally ended up in my pockets, I take responsibility, but I had no intention of smuggling or smuggling [illegal substances] to Russia,” she testified on July 27.

Griner also complained that her rights were not read to her when she was first arrested and that she was not provided with adequate translation services during the investigation.

In a letter to Biden last month, Griner said she was “terrified” of being held in a Russian prison forever.

“I realize that you are involved in so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American prisoners,” she said. “Please do whatever you can to bring us home.”

Colas, Griner’s agent, said they appreciate the Biden administration’s efforts to bring the basketball star and Whelan back to the United States.

“Bringing Brittney and Paul home is the only goal and as such we should use every tool available,” Colas said. “We have to stay focused and united. This is a time of compassion and a shared understanding that striking a deal to bring Americans home will be difficult, but it is urgent and the right thing to do.”

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