Brittney Griner’s arrest: What you need to know

WNBA star Brittney Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport last thirty day period when vape cartridges had been allegedly identified in her luggage, according to a report from the Connected Press, leaving the 31-year-outdated Phoenix Mercury middle in Russia even though the region wages war in Ukraine.

The predicament grew to become public Saturday as the Russian Customs Service mentioned the cartridges contained oil derived from hashish, which could carry a most penalty of 10 years in prison. While the customs provider only identified the individual arrested as a U.S. women’s basketball player and did not specify the day of her arrest, Russian media claimed the participant to be Griner.

“We are conscious of the predicament with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in close contact with her, her authorized representation in Russia, her family members, her teams, and the WNBA and NBA,” Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas informed the Connected Press on Saturday.

Here’s what you need to know about the problem:

Who is Brittney Griner?

The 6-foot-9 Griner has founded herself as one of the WNBA’s most dominant forces. Since getting drafted to start with total in 2013 out of Baylor, Griner has led the Mercury to a WNBA championship in 2014, gained seven All-Star appearances and led the league in scoring 2 times (2017, 2019). The two-time WNBA defensive player of the calendar year and two-time Olympic gold medalist was named one particular of the WNBA’s best 25 gamers as the league celebrated its quarter-century anniversary past period.

What was she accomplishing in Russia?

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Griner is a single of numerous WNBA stars who spend their offseasons playing abroad to complement their domestic income. She’s played for UMMC Ekaterinburg considering that 2014, generating more than $1 million a time, which is four occasions what she tends to make with the Mercury. The Russian club, with 15 nationwide championships and six EuroLeague women‘s titles, has applied its leading-dollar salaries to draw in elite WNBA stars like Sue Hen, Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker and Maya Moore.

The latest roster involves Breanna Stewart, a 3-time WNBA champion with the Seattle Storm Chicago Sky teammates Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot, who led the Sky to their to start with WNBA title last calendar year and Belgian ahead Emma Meesseman, the 2019 WNBA Finals most beneficial player with the Washington Mystics who signed with the Sky this yr.
A WNBA spokesperson instructed the Associated Press all other players in Ukraine and Russia have still left these nations around the world.

How is her predicament affected by the war in Ukraine?

Citing the “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian navy forces in Ukraine,” the U.S. Point out Division issued a Amount 4 “do not travel” advisory for Russia.

The State Division also emphasised prospective harassment from U.S. citizens by Russian authorities protection officials as a motive why Americans should really leave Russia promptly. Nonetheless leaving the place could be challenging as airlines have canceled flights into and out of Russia whilst other nations have shut their airspace to Russian airliners.

What has the WNBA mentioned?

In a statement Saturday the WNBA mentioned, “Brittney Griner has the WNBA’s full help and our principal priority is her swift and risk-free return to the United States.”

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The players union produced a assertion on Instagram saying, “We are informed of the circumstance in Russia concerning just one of our users, Brittney Griner. Our utmost concern is BG’s basic safety and nicely-getting. On behalf of The 144 [WNBA players], we deliver our love and assist. We will continue on to closely observe and search forward to her return to the U.S.”

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