Brittney Griner's wife calls on Biden to help in WNBA star's release from Russian detainment

In her first appearance since Griner’s arrest on Feb. 17, Cherelle Griner told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she wants to meet with President Joe Biden to expedite her wife’s return home, by any means necessary.  

Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury shoots a free throw against the Aces during the WNBA semifinals on Oct. 8, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury shoots a free throw against the Aces during the WNBA semifinals on Oct. 8, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)

“Absolutely. I just keep hearing that he has the power. She’s a political pawn. So if they’re holding her because they want you to do something then I want you to do it,” she told anchor Robin Roberts in an interview aired Wednesday

“At this point, I don’t even know who I’m getting back when she comes back.”

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Cherelle Griner said she was “grateful” for her call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, but she is looking for the government to make good on its word of treating Griner’s return as a “top priority.” 

“I don’t know,” she replied with a sigh when Roberts asked if she felt the situation was being treated as such. “I was grateful for the call. You say she’s top priority, but I want to see it and I feel like to see it would be me seeing [Griner] on U.S. soil.”

Mercury center Brittney Griner pauses on court during the Seattle Storm game Sept. 3, 2019, in Phoenix.

Mercury center Brittney Griner pauses on court during the Seattle Storm game Sept. 3, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Cherelle Griner says she has not spoken to the WNBA star on the phone since her detainment but that she has been able to communicate with her by letters “sporadically.” She said she first learned of her arrest when Griner texted her at 2 a.m. on the day of her detainment at an airport near Moscow.

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“They have me in this room, I don’t know what’s going on,” she said of the text she received. 

The Phoenix Mercury star was arrested after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage. Her wife told “Good Morning America” that despite being treated like “superstars” while playing in Russia, Griner does not play in the Russian league by choice. 

“BG would wholeheartedly love to not go overseas. She has only had one Thanksgiving in the States in nine years since she’s been pro, and she misses all that stuff just because she can’t make enough money in the WNBA to sustain her life.” 

Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, on May 13, 2022.

Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, on May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The U.S. State Department determined Russia “wrongfully detained” Griner when she was arrested in February, an official said in a statement to Fox News Digital earlier this month. She appeared in court for a pre-trial extension that was extended for one month. She was set to have her first hearing over the allegations, which can carry a penalty of 10 years in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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