5 Things About WNBA Star Detained In Russia

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Image Credit: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock

  • Brittney Griner is a WNBA star.
  • She played for a Russian basketball team during the offseason.
  • She was arrested in March 2022 for possessing marijuana vape cartridges. She was sentenced to 9 years in prison in August.
  • Her appeal was rejected on October 25.

Brittney Griner’s appeal for a lesser sentence was rejected by a Russian court on Tuesday, October 25. The WNBA star, 32, was sentenced to 9 years in a penal colony after she plead guilty to drug charges in July. Brittney’s lawyers said that they were still discussing the next steps that they would take after the court upheld the original sentence. “The verdict contains numerous defects and we hoped that the court of appeal would take them into consideration,” they said in a statement to The New York Times. 

Brittney was arrested after she was found with marijuana vape cartridges in March. Her arrest came as Russia began its war against Ukraine, and amid the conflict there’s been much pressure on President Joe Biden and the State Department to secure her release. Many stars have also called for Brittney to be released in light of the charges. Find out more about Brittney here.

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner was reportedly detained in Russia on drug charges in February 2022. (CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock)

Brittney Was A College Phenom

Griner is the only NCAA basketball player to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots when she played for Baylor University in Waco Texas. She was also named the AP Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

She Is A Basketball Pro Legend 

Griner has been voted an All-Star a total of seven times playing as a center for the Phoenix Mercury. She won Olympic gold medals with the U.S. women’s national basketball team in both 2020 and 2016.

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner was stopped at a Russian airport for reportedly carrying marijuana vape pens. (Rick Scuteri/AP/Shutterstock)

Brittney Plays For A Russian Team In Offseason

Griner played during the W.N.B.A. off-season for the Russian team Ekaterinburg in the Euroleague since 2015, where salaries are higher for WNBA players. On Saturday, a W.N.B.A. spokeswoman said all W.N.B.A. players besides Griner were out of Russia and Ukraine.

She Was Bullied As A Child For Her Sexuality

Griner came out publicly as a lesbian in an interview with Sports Illustrated on February 11, 2013. “It really wasn’t too difficult, I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that,” she explained. “I’ve always been open about who I am and my sexuality. If I can show that I’m out and I’m fine and everything’s OK, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way.” She also revealed she was bullied as a child, saying, “It’s hard. Just being picked on for being different. Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything.”

Brittney Split From Her Pregnant Wife

On May 8, 2015, Griner married longtime girlfriend and fellow W.N.B.A. player Glory Johnson. Griner left Johnson 28 days after they were married, and shortly after Johnson revealed she was pregnant with IVF twins. The couple’s divorce was finalized in June 2016.

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