Brittney Griner’s wife Cherelle says she has deep concerns about the imprisoned WNBA star’s well-being after a disturbing phone call.
During an Oct. 6 interview with Gayle King on CBS Mornings, Cherelle said she’s only had two phone calls with Brittney. During the first call, she felt her wife was okay and that they "could survive this."
Griner, 31, a center for the Phoenix Mercury, is serving nine years imprisonment after a drug smuggling conviction. While there have been talks of a prisoner swap between the United States and Russia, it’s unknown when or if Griner will be released.
The second call was more concerning: "I think I cried for about two, three days straight. It was the most disturbing phone call I'd ever experienced… I didn't have words."
She explained, "You could hear that she was not okay. If you think about just a person's suffering and when they have suffered to a max…she was at the max that day.” Cherelle also revealed Griner is worried she will be forgotten in Russia. According to her, Brittney said, “My life just don’t even matter no more.”
Cherelle Griner did not specify the exact dates of the calls, but the conversations lasted no longer than two minutes.
Cherelle fears Brittney could be moved to a labor camp if she is not released before her appeal hearing on Oct. 25. Russian labor camps have been described as “notoriously harsh.”
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Cherelle said President Joe Biden is “doing what he can,” but “we are dealing with the need for Russia to have mercy on B.G. [Brittney Griner] as well.” Cherrell believes it will take Russian President Vladimir Putin to release her wife.
On Feb. 17, Griner, 31, who had been playing for UMMC Yekaterinburg in Russia, was arrested by the Russian Federal Customs Service at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow. Agents said they found hashish oil vape cartridges in her luggage. According to The Washington Post, she was charged with transporting a “significant amount,” or 0.702 grams, of cannabis oil. Griner’s arrest came amid tension escalating over Russia invading Ukraine.
Griner pleaded guilty but argued in court that she did not intentionally put the cartridges in her luggage and packed them in haste. In a written statement, her defense presented evidence that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain. On Aug. 4, the WNBA star was convicted and sentenced to 9 years.