Update on Mar. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET — The petition to secure Brittney Griner’s release and safe return now has nearly 50,000 signatures on Change.org. It will likely get past that mark today.
Tamryn Spruill, the petition’s organizer, was interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper earlier this week. You can see the interview in the tweet below:
Sports journalist @tamrynspruill talks to CNN's @jaketapper about her petition to secure the release of American WNBA player Brittney Griner after Russian authorities arrested Griner at a Moscow airport claiming they found cannabis oil during a search of her luggage. pic.twitter.com/fAYiE7VrYO— CNN (@CNN) March 8, 2022
Spruill was also interviewed by CNN International’s Rosemary Church. You can see the spot below.
#WNBA star #BrittneyGriner arrested & detained on drug charges in #Russia last month potentially faces 10 years in prison. Journalist @tamrynspruill has created a https://t.co/LU8VkdyMfM campaign to try & help secure Griner's release in the midst of war. Here's our conversation: pic.twitter.com/q5fdeGvaQF— Rosemary Church (@rosemaryCNN) March 9, 2022
Congratulations Tamryn! Again, let’s do whatever we can to make sure that Griner can come home, even if she never played for the Washington Mystics.
The original article is below.
Yesterday, Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner was detained in Russia for allegedly having hash oil (a cannabis product) vape cartridges in her check-in luggage while at Sheremetyevo Airport, sometime last February, according to The New York Times. During the winter, Griner plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg. in the Russian Premier League and until last week, FIBA EuroLeague Women.
All other WNBA players who play in Russia have since left the country according to various reports. Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins played in Ukraine this season and appears to be stateside now.
It’s unclear exactly when Griner was taken into custody. But given that the Russian invasion of Ukraine happened a week and a half ago and that FIBA banned Russian teams from EuroLeague Women last week, it seems like Griner was leaving to go to the USA, trying to catch a flight as numerous countries put airspace restrictions on Russia, most notably, the members of the European Union.
In Russia, possession of small amounts of cannabis (6 grams or less) is a civil offense, but the Times noted that those convicted of “large-scale transportation of drugs” could face up to 10 years in prison. It’s unclear what offense(s) Griner has been charged with at this time.
For now, the basketball world wishes that Griner can do one thing: come back home to America.
Tamryn Spruill, who was Swish Appeal’s site manager from 2018-21, started a petition on Change.org. The purpose of the petition is to make sure that elected leaders in the U.S. Congress and diplomats at the U.S. Department of State know that fans are worried about Griner’s safety, and that we all want her home.
Click on the link below to sign the petition.
Let’s do what we can to bring one of the WNBA’s best players back home, even if she doesn’t play here in Washington. We may not be politicians or diplomats, but we can certainly make sure that our voices are heard.