WNBA star Brittney Griner asks Biden for help in emotional letter

WASHINGTON — In an emotional letter to President Joe Biden, WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded for help, saying she fears she may never be released from the Russian prison where she is being detained.

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According to The Associated Press and CNN, Griner’s agent said the letter from the Phoenix Mercury center, who was arrested in February after Russian authorities said she had cannabis oil in her luggage, was delivered to the White House on Monday. Representatives for the two-time Olympic gold medalist shared excerpts from the letter but did not release the full text, the AP reported.

The White House received the letter and continues to believe Griner was wrongfully detained, the White House National Security Council said Monday.

“President Biden has been clear about the need to see all U.S. nationals who are held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad released, including Brittney Griner,” Adrienne Watson, an NSC spokeswoman, said Monday, according to the AP. “The U.S. government continues to work aggressively – using every available means – to bring her home.”

As of Tuesday morning, the Republican Party had not publicly responded to the news.

In one excerpt from the letter, Griner, 31, wrote: “As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever.”

She also reflected on being in prison while Americans celebrate Independence Day, according to the AP.

“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War veteran,” she wrote. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”

Griner added: “I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020, and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”

Griner’s trial, which began last week, resumes Thursday, the AP reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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