Russia Extends Detention Of WNBA Player Brittney Griner To May

Russia Extends Detention Of WNBA Player Brittney Griner To May

Things aren’t looking great for Brittney Griner. According to ESPN, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player will remain in Russia for at least another two months. Reports by Russia’s state news agency TASS say Brittney will remain detained until May 19.

“The court granted the request of the investigation and extended the period of detention of the U.S. citizen Griner until May 19,” a Moscow court ruled, per TASS.

The Arrest 

Brittney was reportedly arrested on February 17 after Russian authorities found vape cartridges in her luggage. The cartridges allegedly contained a cannabis-derived oil called hashish. Per ESPN, the maximum penalty for her offense is ten years in prison. 

The athlete has reportedly played professional basketball in Russia since 2015. For seven years, Brittney has touched courts in Russia during the WNBA’s off-season. As you may already know, playing overseas during off-season is not uncommon for American athletes. Professional athletes who double-dip use the off-season opportunity to not only stay in shape, but also earn more coins. Brittney has reportedly earned more than $1 million per season, while playing in Russia.

ESPN reports that Brittney was also one of a dozen WNBA players who played in Russia or Ukraine this past winter season. However, they’ve all left the region since Russia invaded the Ukraine days after Brittney’s arrest. She was detained while arriving in Russia from New York following a two-week league break in early February.

What’s Next? 

Still, the player’s list of supporters has been steadily growing. On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton chimed in on the situation and tweeted “Free Brittney” along with a BBC article about her detention.

The extension of Brittney’s detention until May 19 means Brittney will miss the start of the WNBA season on May 6. Per ESPN, she is a WNBA champion, seven-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist.

This is a developing story.

 

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