WNBA Star Brittney Griner Able to Receive Emails, Letters During Russian Detainment

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2022

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 10: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury looks on during the game against the Chicago Sky during Game One of the 2021 WNBA Finals on October 10, 2021 at Footprint in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

WNBA star Brittney Griner remains detained in Russia, but she is allowed to receive emails and letters and can respond to some through her lawyers, according to Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press.

Fellow WNBA players have sent hundreds of emails to Griner to an account set up by her agent. Once they are vetted by Russian officials, they are printed out and delivered to her in bunches.

The 31-year-old can then write or dictate a response on paper, which her lawyers transfer back to the email.

Griner was detained at the Moscow airport in February after officials allegedly found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. In May, the United States government ruled that she has been "wrongfully detained."

Griner is facing charges of drug smuggling that carry a 10-year maximum sentence. In mid-May, her pre-trial detention was extended by 30 days, having been previously set to end on May 19.

Last week, the WNPBA urged fans to sign a petition to help free Griner:

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

The <a href="https://twitter.com/TheWNBPA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheWNBPA</a> is urging all to sign the <a href="https://t.co/vPbO5fjz7D">https://t.co/vPbO5fjz7D</a> petition to help free WNBA star Brittney Griner, and is asking all athletes in professional sports to hold their own media blackouts to bring attention to the matter. <a href="https://t.co/rKg4CUoVLF">pic.twitter.com/rKg4CUoVLF</a>

"We just don’t want her to think she’s forgotten," Liberty center Stefanie Dolson said.

Los Angeles Sparks forward Amanda Zahui B. said she sends emails every few weeks to Griner and has gotten responses, while Diana Taurasi said she wrote a handwritten letter to her Phoenix Mercury teammate.

"She jokes in her letters. I don’t know how she does it with what she’s going through. She’s an amazing soul," Zahui B. said. "She brings light in a situation like this. I don’t think a lot of people could manage to do that."

Griner has been one of the league's biggest stars on the court, earning seven All-Star selections in her career. She was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft out of Baylor and won the WNBA title in 2014 with the Mercury.