Brittney Griner’s wife is holding on to last hope of a prisoner swap with Russia to bring her wife home after ‘absurd’ appeal denial

November 02, 2022 in Sports

Brittney Griner’s wife Cherelle Griner is increasingly worried for the NBA player’s mental health after a Russian court denied her request for a reduced prison sentence last month.

Cherelle Griner told co-hosts of ABC’s The View on Tuesday that her wife was struggling the last time they spoke.

“She told me like, ‘I’m really just trying to hold on to the last bit of you that I can remember, you know?'” Cherelle Griner said. “She’s like, ‘My mind is fading in here.’ And you know, it’s just so disheartening to hear.”

Brittney Griner was arrested at the Moscow airport in February after officials alleged they discovered vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. The basketball star was in Russia to play with the Russian Premier League during the WNBA off-season.

Cherelle Griner’s Tuesday interview marked some of her first comments since Brittney Griner’s nine-year sentence on drug smuggling charges was affirmed last week.

“Honestly, it was just disheartening. It was a complete disbelief for me,” Cherelle Griner said. “I mean, I understand, being in the field of law, you know, that every state, every country has their own rules. But this is just absurd.”

Now, Cherelle Griner is holding on to hope that the US government can secure a prisoner swap to bring her wife home.

“And so right now, that was the complete end of it. There is nothing more to expect from a legal standpoint,” she said. “And all eggs now are in a basket for our government and for America to see how important this issue is because this could happen to anybody.”

Negotiations between the US and Russia have seemingly stalled since the Biden administration said in August it made a proposal to swap Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, a former Marine who has also been wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly four years, in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in the US.

Legal experts and hostage negotiators told Insider’s Meredith Cash last week that Russia is too busy “causing chaos” to negotiate.