Britney Greiner latest release: Phoenix Mercury gets US State Department briefing and Hall of Famer calls for her release

Britney Greiner: US government says WNBA star was unjustly detained in Russia

“We are on day 116 since BG was unjustly arrested,” said Vanessa Nygaard, senior coach. “It was great to hear from the State Department that we must continue to amplify this message and that we must continue to pressure all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home. She is our teammate, she is American and we want her to come home. “.

In May, a State Department official told CNN that Greiner She was officially designated as “unjustly held” and announced that her case was being handled by the Office of the United States’ Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA), Roger Carstens.

SPEHA officials were among those who met the team on Monday. The State Department said it had nothing else to share regarding the briefing.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who plays in Russia during the WNBA offseason, was arrested in February at a Moscow airport and accused by Russian authorities of smuggling large quantities of a narcotic substance, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. .

Nygaard, on Sunday, invited President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to attend the team’s match when Mercury visits the Washington Mystics Tuesday.

“You are welcome to come into our dressing room and talk to us. You are also welcome to just enjoy the game and you can see what our team looks like without Brittney Griner, but we would also like to see you as a supporter of our team.

“Yeah, we have snacks in our locker room, we have all kinds of things we like — honestly, you can sit on the bench, you can sit on the bench right next to me.”

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Star guard Diana Torassi said Monday that the State Department’s announcement that Greiner’s arrest was a mistake was a signal to the team.

“It’s something we’ve all talked about intimately as a group, and it now gives us knowledge of the State Department at the highest level, from US President Joe Biden to the team working to bring back all the Americans who are being unjustly detained, and it gives us a lot of confidence that they’re working on it.” “Anything we can do on our part to amplify and put BG first will be our number one priority.”

Grenner’s wife Cheryl gave her first interview last month since her arrest on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and said she talks to Britney “on and off” through messages and that she “definitely” wants to talk to Biden about her detention.

Meanwhile, former Mercury and three-time WNBA All-Star Griner’s teammate Penny Taylor used her introductory speech at the Hall of Fame on Saturday to demand Griner’s release.

Taylor had four separate spells playing for Mercury throughout her 19-year career, winning three WNBA Championships with the franchise before retiring in 2016.

“BG is our family,” Taylor said at the party while asking Biden to help edit Grenier.

“It’s yours, too,” she added. “The entire global sports community must come together to insist that it takes priority.”

CNN’s Kylie Atwood, Steve Almassi and Jill Martin contributed to this report.

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