Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, urged President Joe Biden to intervene and help return her spouse to the United States after months of detainment in Russia during a new ESPN interview.

Cherelle says the last time she spoke to Brittney was on February 17, the day of Brittney’s arrest in a Moscow airport. Brittney, a center for the Phoenix Mercury, was traveling to Russia to complete her season for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a Russian professional basketball team, when she was stopped by authorities after security had searched her luggage and found multiple vape cartridges containing hash oil. Hash oil is a concentrated substance derived from cannabis, a crime which carries a maximum sentence of ten years for possession in Russia. With nowhere else to turn, Cherelle hopes her voice will reach the Oval Office.

Brittney Griner

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"There is one person that can go get her, and that's our president," Cherelle told Angela Rye in the ESPN interview airing Wednesday.. "He has that power. You know, I'm just like, 'Why are we not using it? Like, urgently, use it.' We're expecting him to use his power to get it done."

Cherelle, who earlier this month graduated from North Carolina Central University’s School of Law, said she has spoken to the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as NBA commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

Cherelle said Brittney planned to finish her season in Russia but was eager to stop playing overseas. Many WNBA players compete in international leagues during the winter to supplement their income. "She just said she was so exhausted from always having to go overseas," Cherelle said of Brittney, who was the WNBA's No. 1 draft pick out of Baylor in 2013. "So we talked about it, and I was like, 'Let's just make this your last year overseas then.'"

Brittney Griner

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Brittney’s situation has garnered the attention of several high ranking members of Congress. Reps. Greg Stanton (Arizona), Colin Allred (Texas) and Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) introduced a resolution last week calling for Griner's immediate release. Former United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson, who helped negotiate the release of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed from Russian authorities last month, is also working to help secure Brittany's freedom.

"The Russians held them, I believe, as bargaining chips," Richardson told Bryant Gumbel in an interview on HBO's Real Sports.. "They want something in return. Usually another prisoner, a Russian, in the United States.  “I'm convinced the Russians are going to ask for something in return, because Brittney Griner is very high profile. What makes it doable is that the president of the United States is ready to consider prisoner exchanges, which we haven't done too much in the past."

[via]