Brittney Griner, Wife Cherelle to Speak After 'Error' Prevented Call, per White House

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 21, 2022

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 10: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury pulls down a rebound over Candace Parker #3 of the Chicago Sky and Kahleah Copper #2 of the Chicago Sky in the first half at Footprint Center on October 10, 2021 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. (Photo by Mike Mattina/Getty Images)
Mike Mattina/Getty Images

A phone call between Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner and her wife, Cherelle Griner, has been rescheduled after an attempt for the two to connect Saturday failed following a "logistical error," per Eric Tucker of the Associated Press.

The Griners have not spoken since Russian officials detained the WNBA star on Feb. 17 after claiming they discovered vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her baggage during a check at a Moscow airport. She has been detained for 124 days as of Tuesday.

State Department spokesman Ned Price admitted that a logistical error prevented the call from going through Saturday. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday that the State Department is arranging a rescheduled call but did not reveal when that would take place.

Cherelle Griner told Tucker and colleague Doug Feinberg that Brittney Griner tried to call her 11 times through the United States embassy in Russia, but the desk where the phone was located did not have staffing.

"I find it unacceptable and I have zero trust in our government right now," Cherelle Griner said. "If I can’t trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife's behalf to come home? Because that's a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call."

Griner also said that the phone call "had been scheduled for almost two weeks—with a weekend date" that coincided with their wedding anniversary.

According to Price, there are staffing limitations because of Russian government restrictions on the embassy and its operations.

A senior State Department official said that the call was originally slated to funnel through the embassy's Marine Guard station but that it somehow got routed through an unstaffed, remote location.

The State Department said in May that Griner is being wrongfully detained. Per Russian state-run news agency Tass, officials extended Griner's detention until Saturday, July 2.