Brittney Griner is reportedly able to participate in a small bit of normalcy while she’s been detained in Russia.
According to the Associated Press, the WNBA star has been able to receive emails and letters from fellow WNBA players during her detainment. Hundreds of emails have reportedly been sent by players to an account set up by Griner’s agent, which has allowed them to communicate with her.
The process for Griner to correspond to anyone, however, is not an easy one. The AP reports that the emails are printed out and delivered sporadically in bunches to Griner by her lawyer. They are subsequently vetted by Russian officials.
Griner does not have access to the email account, so she either writes a response on paper and her lawyers will take a photo of it or she’ll dictate a response if she doesn’t have paper available.
“When she responded to my second letter it blew me away,” Los Angeles Sparks forward Amanda Zahui B. said, according to the AP, adding that she never thought she’d hear back from Griner. “I was like she responded!! In my third letter, I was like ‘hey best friend, we are officially best friends now.’”
Griner was detained on February 17 by Russian Federal Customs Service at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow after agents allegedly discovered hashish oil vape cartridges in her luggage, The New York Times reported.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist who plays center for the Phoenix Mercury stands accused of transporting drugs, which can carry a 10-year prison sentence.
The U.S. has officially classified Griner as being wrongfully detained. According to CNN, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA) and Roger Carstens, a State Department official, confirmed Griner is wrongfully detained.
Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last month that the classification was made "in coordination with the hostage negotiator [Carstens] and the State Department."
She continued, "But typically, and I don't believe this will change, in order to, to leave the space to have an outcome we all want and desire, which is to bring her and any Americans detained or unjustifiably detained home, we typically don't talk about it extensively.”