Last month, Brittney Griner’s attempt to appeal her nine-year prison sentence for drug smuggling was rejected by the Moscow Regional Court. Her wife Cherelle Griner is now speaking out.
During a Nov. 1 interview on The View, Cherelle said she was in "complete disbelief” that the appeal was denied.
"I understand being in the field of law that every state, every country has their own rules, but this is just absurd. The crime and the punishment is disproportionate at its finest ... There are people convicted of murder in Russia who [have] a sentence way less than B.G., and it just makes absolutely no sense to me."
She continued, "That was the complete end of it. There's nothing more to expect from a legal standpoint and all eggs are in basket, you know, for our government and for America to see how important this issue is. This could happen to anybody and we should be praying that we have a country that recognizes the importance of that and are willing to actually go get our Americans and bring them back home."
Cherelle also explained that Griner had been playing in Russia in the off-season for years to compensated for the pay inequity in the WNBA compared to the NBA "I'm grateful that my wife was willing to go overseas and make sure that I could go to law school and that we could have a home and things like that.”
While she didn’t discourage other players from playing overseas, she did stress, “Pay attention to the geo-political nature of where you're going, because B.G. left, and by the time she landed there was an e-mail from the WNBA that was saying if you're going to Russia we recommend you not go and if you're already there we recommend you come home, but it was too late."
Watch the clip below:
In February, Griner, 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. However, on Aug. 4, the WNBA star was convicted and sentenced to 9 years for drug smuggling.
Last month, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, told CNN that he’s “cautiously optimistic” Griner will be released by the end of this year. Richardson has met privately with senior Russian officials, who are close to President Vladimir Putin, through his organization, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement.