WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said on Monday that WNBA star Brittney Griner is in an “unimaginable” situation while detained in Russia on drug possession charges.
Griner has been incarcerated in Russia since February after she was reported to have had hash oil on her person at a Russian airport
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Engelbert said that she and the league are tirelessly working to bring Griner home from the former communist country, TMZ Sports reported.
In remarks ahead of the WNBA draft, Engelbert said that little has changed regarding Griner’s legal status.
“I know we’re all frustrated, but we do need to be patient,” she said. “The players have been amazing at following the advice they’re getting and we’re getting in order not to jeopardize her safety in any way.”
She added, “This is an unimaginable situation for BG to be in. She continues to have our full support. Certainly, we’re trying everything we can, every angle, working with her legal representation, her agent, elected leaders, the administration. Just everybody in our ecosystem to try and find ways to get her home safely and as quickly as we can.”
A Moscow court announced in March that it opted to extend Griner's arrest until May 19.
Griner has pleaded not guilty to the drug charges.
In March, Evelyn Farkas, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia and Ukraine, said that she fears Russia may try to use Griner as a "high-profile hostage" and added that if the U.S. wanted Griner out of jail and safely back on U.S. soil, that Russia would likely have some "terms."
"It could be a prisoner swap," Farkas explained. "They could also use it as an implicit threat or blackmail to get us to do something or not do something. Either way, they find it useful."