By Johanna-Rosalye Luna
On Monday night, the WNBA commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, reiterated their support for the Phoenix Mercury’s Center Britney Griner’s safe return home.
During the 2022 WNBA’s Draft opening statement, Engelbert took a brief moment to comment on Griner’s situation stating, “Getting her home continues to be the WNBA’s top priority.” Engelbert added, “there is strength in community, especially in the WNBA”.
Britney Griner has been detained in Russia since February after authorities found vape cartridges, allegedly containing an illegal substance, during a search at a Moscow airport. If convicted, Griner could face up to 10 years in prison.
This has been the first formal statement issued by the league since Griner’s detention in Russia. There is been very little known information since her detention. Prior to tonight, the last update from the Russian media said that her detention was extended to May 19.
During the draft, Griner’s charity work of providing shoes to the homeless was spotlighted. The program has provided shoes to over 2,000 homeless people in the Phoenix community. The Phoenix Mercury will be continuing the program in her absence keeping her spirit alive in the community.
It was announced that all WNBA teams will be doing something in their communities as a display of their support for Britney Griner. Players, such as Brianna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot, have contributed individually by donating to BG’s cause in Phoenix.
Griner, 31, was drafted as the number one overall pick from Baylor by the Phoenix Mercury in 2013. She is considered one of the league’s best players, a WNBA champion with the Phoenix Mercury in 2014), with a second WNBA Finals appearance in 2021. She is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist.