By Jennifer Roback
WNBA star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for over 110 days, and ahead of Game 3 of the Warriors-Celtics NBA Finals, NBA commissioner Adam Silver sat down on NBA Countdown to discuss the ongoing situation, where he demanded more attention.
“Well, actually, what spurred us, you used the words ‘wrongfully detained,’ and so that is an official designation used by the U.S. government,” Silver said, via Sports Illustrated. “Initially, when she was detained, even though we all knew what was going on, we were told by the U.S. government to keep it a little bit more as a low-profile issue I think because they were hoping that Russia frankly wouldn’t see her as such a high-value asset, in which they would be looking to get something in return for her.”
Silver's statement comes just over a month after the State Department classified Griner's arrest as a "wrongful detainment."
“Clearly now everyone understands how important she is, how well known she is in this country, how important she is in the WNBA,” Silver continued. “At this point, I think for all of us, we have to bring as much attention to her case as possible, and get her home safely as quickly as possible.”
Since her arrest, many WNBA and NBA stars have offered their support and have been urging congress to bring her home soon amid fears of a Third World War, following Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine that began in February.
Before Game 1, Silver announced that the NBA would be working with the government to help "expedite her release."
“It is something that all of us should be heard on, contacting your representatives and others," Silver said at the time, via Sports Illustrated. “We are working in lockstep with the U.S. government and outside experts … to expedite her release in any way that we can.”
On May 13, Griner's detention was extended another 30 days, however, it was revealed shortly after that she is now able to communicate to her friends and family via email.
While Griner does not have access to an email account herself, they are printed and delivered by her lawyer after they are vetted by Russian officials. She can then respond on paper or dictate a message through her lawyer, who does the official responding.
Griner was detained in Russia on February 17 after vape cartridges containing hashish oil were allegedly discovered in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. At the time, she was on her way back to the US after playing for UMMC Yekaterinburg during the WNBA off-season.