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What Is Next for Brittney Griner?

Just after the Russian Federal Customs Service ransacked and claimed to have gotten Hashish oil in Griner’s luggage during an airport search in Moscow, her case has attracted much attention from Russia and USA, deepening the current relational crises.

Initially, Russia didn’t provide the name of the detained person but claimed to have arrested an American who had won two gold medals with one of the American basketball teams.

It was later identified that the player in question was Brittney Griner, who played for WNBA All-Star, winning gold in 2016 and 2021.

Earlier Activities Leading to Griner’s Arrest

Griner had participated in the UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason. The airport authorities later detained her at Sheremetyevo airport, who claimed they came across vape cartridges with Hashish oil in her items while on routine checks.

According to CNN, the Russian state authorities, through Russian TV, released a video and photo of a woman arrested on drug charges who was positively identified as Brittney Griner, the American basketball player. The officials reported that her luggage had cannabis oil.

A criminal case, “ large transportation of drugs,” was opened, and Griner appeared in the Russian courts to answer the charges. Usually, such cases of drugs may earn the offender ten years behind bars. 

Griner’s Case Progress

Griner’s case is expected to end next week, and the final day is possibly set for Friday. Griner will get her verdict from the prolonged case and perhaps sentencing afterward.

During her testimony on Wednesday, Griner claimed that the interpreter assigned to her did not fully translate everything said and that she was forced to sign documents without full explanation. 

Reports indicate that her claim could be a perfect defense strategy to help her negotiate the case and narrow down the evidence labeled against her.

Griner’s Legal Defense

As she had already pleaded guilty at the July 7 hearing, Griner noted that she didn’t intend to pack the oil but did it while in a hurry and not intentionally. In addition, her defense of not being given representation could be a better way to begin talks between the two countries. 

At the moment, here are key state options that might occur. This will call for diplomatic action to aid Griner through the case.

The White House Offers to See Griner Back Home

America is known to protect its citizens, and Griner’s case is one of the many showing how Americans get detained in other countries. 

Since the invasion of Ukraine by the Russians, Americans have declared their support for Ukraine. Griner’s detection could be a way to provoke the U.S. to lift some of the sanctions labeled on Russia. It could also mean releasing some of the detained Russians in the U.S.

The ESPN Quinns update reveals that there could be a potential prisoner exchange offer to earn Griner her comeback to the U.S. Currently, reports have it that the U.S. has made an offer to release Russian convict Victor Bout who was an arms dealer. The exchange deal could include Paul Whelan, an American held by the Russian authorities.

An official in the administration noted that they had initial contact with the authorities to negotiate the offers available, and they are waiting for Russia to respond as they continue to push the deal.

Antony Blinken Declarations

The U.S. state secretary Antony Blinken noted that he would speak to the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

The proposal is to demand Griner and Whelan’s release. The state secretary pointed out that the U.S. had a proposal on the table, and this was one of the first public acknowledgments of the case and the need to have the citizens back.

If the two parties meet, then it will be the first time the U.S. has been negotiating with Russia since the Ukrainian invasion back in February. Russian insists that all the negotiations should be done privately and with the correct channels.

Is The NBA Silent?

As much as the case is a high profile, the NBA’s little involvement is worrying. However, other agencies have come out to support Griner and are calling out for her release.

WNBA issued a statement that they fully support Griner’s release, and they fight to the end to see Griner back in the U.S.

Phoenix Mercury also noted that they are aware of what is happening and are monitoring the situation closely and keeping tabs with the family.

Phoenix Mercury Primary Concern

They indicated that their primary concern is to ensure that Griner is safe and both physically and mentally healthy. In addition, they would ensure her safe return home.

WNBPA and USA basketball have also issued statements to support Griner. As it is, the state negotiations will help determine the fate of Griner.

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