Brittney Griner Is a 'Compassionate, Humble... Patriotic Person,' Says USA Diplomat

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 11, 2022

In this image made from video provided by Russian Federal Security Service, WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner sits in the plane as she flies to Abu Dhabi to be exchanged for Russian citizen Viktor Bout, in Russia, Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. (Russian Federal Security Service via AP)
Russian Federal Security Service via AP

WNBA star Brittney Griner reportedly spent about 12 hours of an 18-hour flight from Russia back to the United States speaking with members of the flight crew and people on the plane, according to special presidential envoy for hostage affairs Roger Carstens.

"I was left with the impression this is an intelligent, passionate, compassionate, humble, interesting person, a patriotic person," Carstens said of CNN's State of the Union Sunday (h/t ESPN). "But above all, authentic. I hate the fact that I had to meet her in this manner, but I actually felt blessed having had a chance to get to know her."

Carstens added Griner was "full of energy, looked fantastic."

Griner, 32, had been detained in Russia for 10 months after Russian authorities said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport in February. The U.S. State Department's official stance said she had been "wrongfully detained."

Griner was released this past week as part of a prisoner swap with Russia.