“I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of [Yekaterinburg] for my mistake I made and the embarrassment I caused them,” Griner said in his statement. “I also want to apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing wife at home.”
Responding to her sentence, President Joe Biden slammed Russia for “wrongly detaining” Griner, saying he would “pursue every avenue possible” to bring her home.
“This is unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with his wife, loved ones, friends and teammates,” Biden said in a statement. statement. “My administration will continue to work tirelessly and explore all possible avenues to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert and NBA commissioner Adam Silver also released a joint statement condemning the verdict.
“Today’s verdict and sentencing are unwarranted and unfortunate, but not unexpected and Brittney Griner remains wrongfully detained,” they said. “The WNBA and NBA’s commitment to his safe return has not wavered and we hope we are close to completing the process to finally bring BG back to the United States.
Griner previously testified that she used cannabis oil prescribed by her doctor to treat pain from sports injuries, but packed her bags in a hurry and didn’t want to bring them to Russia, where she was playing during the WNBA offseason. “As they ended up in my bags by accident, I take responsibility, but I had no intention of smuggling or planning to smuggle [illegal substances] in Russia”, she had testified July 27.
Griner also complained that his rights have not been read to him when she was first arrested and did not receive proper translation services during the investigation.
In a letter written to Biden last month, Griner said she was “terrified” at the thought of being held in a Russian prison forever.
“I realize you have so much to do, but please don’t forget me and the other American inmates,” she said. “Please do everything you can to get us home.”
Colas, Griner’s agent, said he appreciates the Biden administration’s efforts to bring the basketball star and Whelan back to the United States.
“Bringing Brittney and Paul home is the only goal, and as such, we must use every tool available,” Colas said. “We need to stay focused and united. This is a time of compassion and common understanding that getting a deal to get Americans home will be difficult, but it’s urgent and it’s the right thing to do. “