Phoenix Mercury Meet with U.S. State Department on Brittney Griner

(AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

While in Washington, D.C. to face the Mystics, Phoenix Mercury players, coaches and staff met with members United States Department of state to be updated on Brittany Griner’s wrongful detention in Russia. 

Griner has been detained for 116 days after she alledgedly was in possession of hashish oil at a Russian airport. 

“Once we knew that BG was classified as wrongfully detained, that was a signal to us all,” Mercury guard Diana Taurasi said. “It’s something that we’ve all talked about intimately as a group and now knowing the State Department at the highest level, from U.S President Joe Biden to the team that is working on bringing back all Americans who are wrongfully detained, gives us a lot of confidence that they’re working on it. Anything that we can do on our side to amplify and to put BG first will be our number one priority.”

The Mercury also spoke to US congressman Greg Stanton of Arizona and US Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee from Houston, Griner’s hometown. 

“For the team, coaches and executives at the Mercury, every day without Brittney is a lifetime,” Stanton said. “I was glad for the opportunity to share the work we’re doing in Congress to secure Brittney’s release.”  

While the Mercury navigate their 2022 season, getting Griner home is on the front of the organizaiton’s mind. 

“We are on day 116 since BG has been wrongfully detained,” head coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify that message and that we should continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home. She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her back home.”