Lisa Leslie says players were told not to make a fuss about Brittney Griner

The women’s basketball world has been ordered not to make a “big fuss” about Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia.

So says WNBA legend Lisa Leslie, who spoke about the predicament on this week’s “I am Athlete” podcast.

“What we were told, and again, that’s all kind of been passed on through hearsay, but what we were told was not to make a fuss about it, so they couldn’t use it as a pawn, so to speak, in a war situation,” Leslie said .

“So to make it like it’s not that important, or don’t make it like ‘Free Brittney’ and we launch this campaign and then it becomes useful for her. We were “told” that, and I don’t want to say who said it, but word has got around in the women’s basketball world.

Russian authorities arrested Griner in February after allegedly finding cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage at the airport. Griner played professionally for years during the WNBA offseason.

"Russian state television has released a photo of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested on drug charges in the country after Russian officials said cannabis oil was found in her luggage."
WNBA player Brittney Griner is “holding out well” in detention, according to Russia.
Russian state television

“Do we know if that’s right or not?” Leslie asked. “It’s heartbreaking for all of us. Those are the feelings of it. You want to do more and think should we all use and stand behind our social media platform or not? Nobody really [knows]. This is the first time we are in this situation and we don’t know what to do.

“I talk to [South Carolina coach and six-time WNBA all-star] Dawn Staley and people close to me. We talk about it every day. We’re just like, ‘Damn, what is she doing now? Do you think they cut her hair? Does she have a bed long enough to fit in?’ We’ve had intense conversations about it and I’m like if her parents got sick. What is the right thing to do about it?”

Lisa Leslie
WNBA legend Lisa Leslie opened up about the predicament on this week’s I am Athlete podcast.
Getty Images

Griner, 31, won the 2014 WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury and is a seven-time league All-Star.

Earlier this week, CNN reported that the US Embassy was able to contact her and that she is in “good condition.”

“We have been able to verify her condition, we will continue to work very closely with her legal team and her wider network to ensure she is treated fairly,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told CNN.

Surveillance footage of Brittney Griner at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow.
Surveillance footage of Brittney Griner at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow.
Russian Federal Customs Service Lisa Leslie says players were told not to make a fuss about Brittney Griner


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