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UPDATE: WNBA’s Brittney Griner’s detention extended one month

Friday morning a Russian court extended the pretrial detention of WNBA star – and Houston, Texas native – Brittney Griner for another month, it was reported by the Russian state news agency TASS.

Brittney Griner in Court
Brittney Griner in Court / Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko /AP

Friday morning a Russian court extended the pretrial detention of WNBA star – and Houston, Texas native – Brittney Griner for another month, it was reported by the Russian state news agency TASS.

In addition to her pretrial detention being extended to at least June 18th, Griner was denied a request for house arrest.

Earlier this month the U.S. government stated she was “wrongfully detained by the Russian government” signaling a possibly different strategy in negotiating and securing her release. 

The 31-year-old, nine-year WNBA veteran has been detained since February in Russia reportedly over drug charges. She appeared in court on Friday in a hooded sweatshirt and in handcuffs.

Griner, a Houston native who played collegiately at Baylor University in Waco, was detainedrine after customs officials said they found hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow.

FLOOR DECAL BG12

At that time, Russian Federal Customs Service alleged it searched luggage believed to belong to Griner and found vape cartridges that contained oil derived from cannabis — a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Griner was not mentioned by name at that point, but the customs service identified the detained person as a player for the U.S. women’s team but did not specify the date of her arrest. The customs service released video of an individual that appears to be the 6-foot-9 Griner going through airport security.

Griner competes as part of Team USA Women’s Basketball and won gold medals in the 2016 and 2021 Olympics. Like most WNBA players, she plays basketball overseas in the offseason, most recently Russia.

The WNBA is acknowledging the importance of BG throughout the season which tipped off earlier this month.

During the 2022 season Griner’s initials and jersey number (#42) will be featured along the sideline of all 12 WNBA courts.

The league also announced today that the Mercury have been granted both roster and salary cap relief so that it can carry a replacement player until Griner, who will be paid her full salary, returns home and is ready to get back on the court. 

The Mercury, who drafted Griner #1 overall in the 2013 draft, have also outlined several philanthropic initiatives recognizing Griner and modeled after her contributions to the Phoenix community. These will take place across the league during tip-off weekend into the 2022 season. 

Every WNBA market will support “BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive”, which is in partnership with the Phoenix Rescue Mission. Griner founded the initiative in 2016 to support the homeless population.

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Written By

Dorothy Gentry is the sports editor for the Texas Metro News.

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