WNBA’s Cathy Engelbert talks Brittney Griner detention before draft: ‘This is an unimaginable situation’

on Apr11
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WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert addressed Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia on Monday moments before the league’s annual player draft began with the Atlanta Dream selecting No. 1.

Griner has been detained in Russia for about two months over allegations that she possessed vape cartridges containing cannabis oil on her when she was entering a Moscow airport. There have been scant updates since her detention was first reported in early March.

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WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks before the WNBA basketball draft, Monday, April 11, 2022, in New York.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks before the WNBA basketball draft, Monday, April 11, 2022, in New York.
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Engelbert said officials in and outside the WNBA were working hard to bring her home.

“We continue to be working diligently on bringing Brittney Griner home. This is an unimaginable situation for BG to be in. She continues to have our full support, and she’s just been a great person in the league,” she said. 

WNBA STARS AGREE ON BRITTNEY GRINER ARREST: ‘IT COULD HAVE BEEN ANY OF US’

Brittney Griner #42 #3 of the Phoenix Mercurylooks on during the game against the Chicago Sky during Game Two of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Oct. 13, 2021 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Brittney Griner #42 #3 of the Phoenix Mercurylooks on during the game against the Chicago Sky during Game Two of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Oct. 13, 2021 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. 
(Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

“I can’t be any more real about the situation she’s in, and certainly we’re trying everything we can, every angle, working through with her legal representation, her agent, elected leaders, the administration and just everybody in our ecosystem to try and find ways to get her home safely and as quickly as we can.”

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said last month that an official from the U.S. Embassy was able to see Griner recently, and she was said to be “in good condition.” The Russian government allowed the U.S. to give consular access to Griner weeks after her arrest was reported.

Griner could face up to 10 years in a Russian prison if convicted.

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates during Game Two of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Oct. 13, 2021 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates during Game Two of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Oct. 13, 2021 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Her detention was extended until May 19, according to Russian media.

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The WNBA season starts May 6.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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