November 3, 2022 

U.S. Embassy officials meet with Brittney Griner in Russia

'This continues to be a top priority'

Brittney Griner has met with U.S. Embassy officials in Russia, President Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced on Thursday.

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“We are told she’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” Jean-Pierre told reporters while on Air Force One.

Ned Price, the official spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, confirmed the interaction in a tweet.

“.@USEmbRU officials visited Brittney Griner today,” the tweet said. “They saw firsthand her tenacity and perseverance despite her present circumstances. We continue to press for the immediate release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan and fair treatment for every detained American.”

Griner, an eight-time WNBA all-star and 2014 WNBA champion, was detained back in February for bringing small quantities of cannabis oil into Russia. On Aug. 4, she was sentenced to nine years in prison and fined the U.S. equivalent of about $16,700.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates,” President Biden said in a statement back in August after the sentence was announced.

Griner’s legal team has publicly said they’re exploring further appeals of the ruling.

“As we have said before, the U.S. government made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan,” Jean-Pierre said. “I can also tell you that in the subsequent weeks, despite a lack of good faith negotiation by the Russians, the U.S. government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with Russians through all available channels.”

She added: “This continues to be a top priority.”

Griner has continued to receive widespread support within the women’s basketball community, from the WNBPA to South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley to the Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart.

Written by Eric Rynston-Lobel

Eric Rynston-Lobel has been a contributor to The Next since August 2022. He covered Northwestern women's basketball extensively in his four years as a student there for WNUR and now works as a sports reporter for the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire.

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