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Griner’s prolonged detention is disappointing for his WNBA family

Liberty coach Sandy Brondello was on her way to the morning shootout when she learned Russia had extended Brittney Griner’s remand for another 30 days.

New York coach Sandy Brondello was on her way to her team’s shootout on Friday morning when she received the “disappointing” news that Russia had extended Brittney Griner’s remand for another 30 days.

Griner’s original detention date was set to end on May 19. The two-time Olympic gold medalist who plays for the Phoenix Mercury was arrested at a Moscow airport in February after vaping cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil were allegedly found in her luggage. Griner, 31, faces drug trafficking charges that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The 30-day extension could mean Griner’s case could soon go to trial.

Whatever’s next on the legal horizon, Brondello, who coached Griner for eight years in Phoenix before taking over the New York Liberty this year, hasn’t appeased the latest news.

“Obviously very disappointed to hear that they are extending BG’s stay in Russia and we have to do everything we can to get her out,” Brondello said. “We need to release BG. We need her back here. I hope the government can do something about this as soon as possible.”

The 6ft 9in Griner appeared for the brief hearing in court outside Moscow in handcuffs, wearing an orange hoodie and holding her face down.

While the extension wasn’t unexpected, players across the league saw Griner’s photos and video and said it was all hard to see.

“It was a punch. I saw the pictures,” said Fever guard Danielle Robinson, who played with Griner in Phoenix for one season. “You get to know her, her and her family, what she is, what she stands for. Knowing her heart, she has such a heart for others, it’s super sad.

Ariel Atkins, who played with Griner at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, said she doesn’t fully understand Griner’s case, but she “just wants to do whatever I can to help her.” to bring her home.” Just a devastating situation. I can’t imagine how his family is feeling right now.

Griner’s wife, Cherelle, a graduate of Central North Carolina University earlier this month, hasn’t spoken much about the stress their family is under.

News of Griner’s continued detention caused Mercury guard Brianna Turner to remember the good deeds her teammate had done, prompting her to post a story on Twitter hours later about how Griner would keep her remains. food and give it to a homeless person.

“Of course, with her on my mind, I thought I’d do the same today,” Turner wrote. “Sometimes a free meal can make a person’s day brighter. If possible, do something nice for a stranger today.

Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, began posting on Twitter two weeks ago a tally of the days Griner was held overseas. Friday was the 85th day.

Hours after the extension, Kagawa Colas tweeted that Griner’s team expects the government to “use all available options to get Griner home immediately and safely.”

Others have followed suit and are tweeting about the days Griner was detained, including Seattle Storm All-Star Breanna Stewart and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley.

All seem determined to make sure Griner’s name and possession stick in people’s minds, and then, as Wings coach Vickie Johnson said, “let the league handle it and its lawyers”.

“The only thing I can do, I’m great friends with Brittney, is keep praying for her and her family,” Johnson said. “I hope she is fine mentally and physically.”


AP Sports Writer Noah Trister contributed to this story from Washington.


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