Phoenix Mercury star forward Brittney Griner detained by Russian police


Lorie Shaull (Flickr)

WNBA and Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner has been imprisoned in Russia since February.

Alex Keeler, Reporter

The WNBA regular season tips off in just over two months. 

But the league, and the Phoenix Mercury, found out on Saturday morning that one of their star players, Mercury forward Brittney Griner had been detained in Russia on drug charges. 

Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, seven-time WNBA all-star, and won a championship with the Mercury  in 2014.  

During the WNBA offseason, Griner plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a team that’s based near Moscow, Russia that is part of the Russian Premier League. 

On Saturday morning, the Russian Federal Customs Services released a statement that they had detained Griner at Sheremetyevo Airport, upon her return from New York, after cannabis oil was allegedly found in one of her bags.  

“The customs inspection of the hand luggage being carried by the US citizen confirmed the presence of vapes with specifically smelling liquid, and an expert determined that the liquid was cannabis oil (hash oil), which is a narcotic substance,” the customs service said in the statement. 

Although the news of Griner bring being detained was released on Saturday, it was later revealed that she has been detained since sometime in February. 

As Russia continues to invade Ukraine, many of her supporters in the United States are fearful for Griner’s safety. 

CNN reported that USA Basketball released a statement that they are “aware of and closely monitoring the legal situation facing Brittney Griner in Russia. Brittney has always handled herself with the utmost professionalism during her long tenure with USA Basketball and her safety and wellbeing are our primary concerns.” 

Brianna Turner, who has been Griner’s teammate with the Mercury for the last three seasons, quickly shared her thoughts on the situation via twitter. 

“At a loss for words, but I know it will work itself out (praying emoji),” Turner said. 

The Phoenix Mercury also released a statement Saturday addressing the Griner situation.