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WNBA

President Biden contacts Griner’s wife; Mercury coach talks about LeBron James and value of women

President Biden assures Griner’s wife that he’s working on getting Brittney home, while Mercury’s head coach says LeBron would’ve been back if it was him.

Update:
President Biden assures Griner’s wife that he’s working on getting Brittney home, while Mercury’s head coach says LeBron would’ve been back if it was him.
EVGENIA NOVOZHENINAREUTERS

As Brittney Griner readies for trial this week in Russia, the two-time Olympic medalist is at the heart of the conversation, everywhere.

The Phoenix Mercury star made an appeal to president Joe Biden in a letter that her representatives passed to the White House on Monday.

In the letter, Griner was pleading for her life, saying she feared she might never return home and asking that the president not forget about herand the other American Detainees.”

A few lines of the letter read ″…As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” the WNBA player wrote.

Accused of possessing vape cartridges containing large amounts of cannabis oil, Griner has been detained at a Russian prison since Feb 17.

Related: Why was Brittney Griner arrested in Russia?

President Biden addresses Griner’s wife

On Tuesday, president Biden got in contact with Griner’s wife, Cherelle, to reassure her he’s working on bringing Brittney back as soon as he can, and that he took her letter to heart.

The White House shared a statement today that reads, “The President called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world,” the White House said in a statement. “He also read her a draft of the letter the President is sending to Brittney Griner today.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said they believe Griner was “wrongfully detained” and that she needs to come home.

Following the president’s approach, Cherelle Griner told “CBS Mornings” that it was “disheartening” that president Biden reached out to her during Brittney Griner’s detention.

Griner’s coach says case would be over if it was LeBron

On another note, Phoenix Mercury head coach, Vanessa Nygaard, spoke to the media earlier this week about the message that’s being sent by not bringing home the star, who is a gay, black woman. She said that “if it was LeBron, he’d be home, right?” and added that this is a “a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those things. We know it, and so that’s what hurts a little more.”

The Mercury is holding a public rally at 5 pm today, Wednesday, at Footprint Center to show support for Griner. Meanwhile, Griner’s trial, which started on July 1 in Russia, resumes Thursday.

If the WNBA champion is found guilty, she could face up to 10 years in jail.

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