Cherelle Griner is speaking out for the first time since her WNBA wife Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia back in February, right before Russia invaded Ukraine. The law school graduate is calling on President Joe Biden to step in to bring her wife back home to the United States. Details from her “Good Morning America” interview inside…
It’s been nearly 100 days since WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained in a Russian prison after Moscow-area airport authorities reportedly found vape pens that contained hashish oil in her luggage.
Details about how Brittney is doing overseas are scarce.
Earlier this month, the U.S. government declared the WNBA star, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, to be "wrongfully detained" by the Russian government, signaling a significant shift in how officials will try to get her home. However, Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, feels enough hasn’t been done to get her wife back on U.S. soil.
Cherelle Griner sat down with “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts to share what she has been going through since she learned her wife was imprisoned overseas. She said her wife texted her when she was first taken into custody, but her phone was taken soon after.
"She started texting me around 2 AM that morning," Cherelle said. "'Babe! Babe! Babe! Wake up! They have me in this room. I don't know what's going on.' I instantly texted back, ‘Who are they and what room?’”
The WNBA star told her wife the “customs people” grabbed her when she went through and they put her in a room. After that, she sent a message saying they’re about to take her phone and to not text anymore.
Ninety six days in and Cherelle said she still has not spoken to Brittney. While she hasn’t been able to directly speak to her, she said she’s grateful for the “sporadic” letters she received.
After customs found the vape cartridges, Brittney was charged with "large-scale transportation of drugs" and could face up to 10 years in prison.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began one week after Brittney was detained on February 17th. Americans didn't learn about her detainment until three weeks later. Fears grew that the seven-time WNBA All-Star would be used as a political pawn for Russia.
Cherelle wants answers…directly from President Joe Biden.
"I just keep hearing that, you know, he has the power. She's a political pawn," she said."So if they're holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it," she added.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Friday that a U.S. consular officer was able to meet with Brittney on Thursday, May 19th, for the second time in a week. Price said the official "found her continuing to do as well as could be expected under these exceedingly challenging circumstances."
Mrs. Griner said she was "grateful" for the conversation she had with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who assured her they’re doing everything they can to get her wife home.
”You say she's top priority, but I wanna see it, and I feel like to see it would be me seeing BG on U.S. soil," she said.
Cherelle - who recently obtained her law degree from NCCU - said she plans to fight until her wife is back in her arms.
”[Brittney] wrote me one letter and was like, 'Babe, I know you wanna go down right now but like, don't just yet,'" she said."I won't go down until she's back ... Every single day matters for me to be sound, for me to be alert, for me to be attentive, to make sure that she comes back," she added.
Watch her emotional interview below:
Brittney Griner's pre-trial detention has been extended until June 18th.
Photos: Cherelle's IG