Russian Customs Service said on Saturday that the cartridges contained oil made from cannabis, which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Customs identified the arrested person as a player on the US women’s team and did not provide the date of her arrest. Russian media reported that the player was Griner and their agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas did not dispute these reports.
“We are aware of the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representative in Russia, her family, her teams, and the WNBA and the NBA,” Griner’s agent Kagawa Colas said Saturday. “As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to comment further on the details of her case, but can confirm that her mental and physical health remains our primary concern as we work to bring her home.”
On Saturday, the State Department issued a “travel ban” notice to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, urging all U.S. citizens to leave immediately, citing factors including “the potential for harassment of U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials.” and “the embassy’s limited ability to assist Americans in Russia.”
Griner, who plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, has played winters in Russia for the past seven years and has earned over $1 million per season — more than four times her WNBA salary. She last played for her Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg on Jan. 29 before the league went on a two-week hiatus in early February for the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournaments.
MORE: Russia Ukraine live updates
More than a dozen WNBA players played in Russia and Ukraine this winter, including league MVPs Jonquel Jones and Courtney Vandersloot, and champion Chicago Sky’s Allie Quigley. The WNBA confirmed Saturday that all players except Griner left both countries.
Griner, 31, has won two Olympic gold medals with the USA, a WNBA championship with the Mercury and a national championship with Baylor. She is a seven-time All-Star.
“Brittney Griner has the full support of the WNBA and our top priority is her speedy and safe return to the United States,” the league said in a statement.
The Phoenix Mercury released a statement regarding her detention:
“We are aware of the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia and are monitoring it closely. We keep in constant touch with her family, her agency, the WNBA and the NBA. We love and support Brittney and right now our main concern is her safety. physical and mental health and their safe return home.”
Griner is from Houston. She attended Nimitz High School and played basketball under Coach Debbie Jackson in 2007.
ABC13 has reached out to the league and is awaiting further information.
This story evolves. Check for updates again. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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https://abc13.com/the-basketball-players-representatives-are-working-to-get-her-home/11623168/ WNBA star Brittney Griner has reportedly been arrested in Russia after officers found hash oil in his luggage