PHOENIX, AZ – On Monday night, WNBA’s commissioner Cathy Engelbert reiterated WNBA’s support for Phoenix Mercury’s Britney Griner’s safe return home.
During the 2022 WNBA Draft’s opening statement Engelbert took a brief moment to comment Britney Griner’s situation stating “getting her home continues to be the WNBA’s top priority” while facing a complex challenge. 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 that has been issued since Griner’s detention in Russia. There is very little know information since her detention. Prior to tonight, the last known information provided was from Russian media reporting that her detention was extended to May 19.
Approaching the second hour of the WNBA Draft, an update was provided stating the Griner is healthy and safe. During the WNBA broadcast Griner’s charity work was spotlighted, where for the past four seasons she has provided shoes to the homeless. The program has provided shoes to over 2,000 homeless people in the Phoenix community in the summer. The Phoenix Mercury will be continuing the program in her absence keeping her spirit in the community. It was also announced that all WNBA teams also 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 also contributed individually donating to BG’s cause in Phoenix.
Griner, 31, was drafted from Baylor in 2013 (first overall pick) in Round 1 of the WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury. She is considered one of the league’s best players, a WNBA champion with the Phoenix Mercury (2014), with a second WNBA Finals appearance last season, and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.