Tuesday's announcement by Adam Silver, NBA commissioner said that he was working “side-by side” with Cathy Engelbert, WNBA Commissioner, to bring Brittney griner home.
Silver spoke to Malika Andrews of ESPN in a televised interview in Chicago before the NBA draft lottery. He said that his league followed the advice of experts and did not adopt an aggressive approach in the initial stages of Griner’s detention in Russia.
Silver stated, “We've been in contact with both the White House, State Department, hostage negotiators and every level of government as well through the private sector,” “Our No. “Our No. 1 priority is her safety and health, and getting out of Russia.”
The State Department stated Tuesday that it is still pushing for regular contact with Phoenix Mercury star.
Griner was able to meet last week with a consular officer.. Griner was wrongly detained by U.S. officials since February after vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in Griner's luggage at a Moscow airport.
Ned Price, spokesperson for the State Department in Washington stated that Brittney griner was performing well under difficult conditions. “But sporadic communication is not satisfactory. It may also not be compatible with the Vienna Convention, to which Russia has signed.
Griner, a 31-year-old two-time Olympic medalist for the U.S., is facing drug smuggling allegations that could land him a maximum of 10 years in prison. Griner is being held in wrongful detention according to the Biden administration. Despite visible progress, the WNBA and U.S. officials worked for Griner's release.
Price stated that Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, spoke with Griner's spouse in the last few days.
Price stated that Price had once again conveyed the importance we attach to obtaining the release of all Americans, including Brittney Griner (in the case Russia), Paul Whelan (in the case Russia), and any Americans we believe are wrongfully detained.” Since his inception, Secretary Blinken has made it a priority to release all Americans.
Whelan is a Michigan corporate security executive who was detained in Russia. Whelan was visiting a friend's wedding in December 2018, when he was arrested. He was sentenced to 16 year imprisonment for espionage-related offenses that his family claims are bogus.
This report was compiled by the Associated Press.