Brittney Griner's wife says the U.S. Embassy did not help her make a phone call

posted by vicky684 about 2 months ago
Brittney Griner's wife says the U.S. Embassy did not help her make a phone call
On their fourth wedding anniversary, Brittney Griner was unable to talk to her wife for the first time in months because there was no one at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow who could set up a phone call between them, Griner's wife said Monday.

The call had been set up two weeks before, Cherelle Griner told the Associated Press. They have not talked directly since Brittney Griner, one of the most famous WNBA players, was arrested on drug charges at an airport near Moscow in February.

"I was in distress. I got hurt. "I was done, I was fed up," Cherelle Griner said of how she felt after the conversation with her wife did not happen. She told the AP that at first she thought Russian officials had messed with the call, but on Monday she found out from Brittney Griner's lawyers that the mistake was made in her own country.

The lawyers say that Brittney Griner tried to call her wife 11 times using a number she was given at the embassy that was supposed to connect her to Cherelle Griner in Phoenix. But the date of the call was on a Saturday, and the embassy did not have anyone there to make the connection, Cherelle Griner told the AP.

"I find it unacceptable, and I have no faith in our government right now," Griner said. "If I can not trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to negotiate for my wife to come home? Because that is a much bigger request than to catch a Saturday call."

The State Department said in a statement to the AP that they were sorry that "a logistical error" meant Brittney Griner could not talk to her wife.

"Imagine the heartbreak," Brittney Griner's agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said on Twitter. "123 days without hearing her voice. holding out hope for a phone call. Finally getting that call, only to have it keep ringing.

"Every time I think about it, my heart breaks, but it is nothing compared to what BG and her family are going through."

The WNBA players union said Monday that it was "crushed" that Brittney Griner did not get to talk with her wife. By tagging President Biden in a tweet, the union asked him to meet with Cherelle Griner and get the 31-year-old center back "so they can talk to each other in person."

Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, were able to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary this past weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The union said it was "glad" that they were able to do so and added, "Whether you have been married for 4 years or 45, anniversaries are a big deal."

Cherelle Griner told the AP that she was still hoping to meet with the president, but it was "starting to feel like a no."

The U.S. government said last month that Brittney Griner was being "wrongfully detained" by Russia and promised to "continue to make efforts to provide appropriate support" to her. Griner was arrested in February for what Russian authorities said was an attempt to illegally bring hashish oil vape cartridges into the country after a flight from New York. This happened as tensions between the US and Russia grew because of the impending invasion of Ukraine.

In May, Cherelle Griner, who just finished law school, called her wife "a political pawn" and said she had been in touch with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"I was glad for the call," she said then. "You say she is the top priority, but I want to see it. I feel like to see it would be me seeing BG on U.S. soil."

At the time, a Russian court had ordered Griner's pretrial detention to be extended until mid-June. Her detention was reportedly extended again until July 2.

Griner plays for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, which she helped win the league title with in 2014. She also plays for a team in the Russian Premier League. UMMC Ekaterinburg's season ended in April, about a week before the 2022 WNBA season began.

The WNBA announced at that time that the initials of Griner, a seven-time all-star and two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist, and her jersey number, 42, would be shown on the sidelines of all 12 of its teams' courts. During warmups, Mercury players have worn shirts that say "We are BG," and during the NBA Finals, members of the Boston Celtics wore similar shirts.

"As a group, we wanted to come out and show our support for Brittney Griner," Boston's Jaylen Brown said this month. "She is been over there for a long time, and we feel like enough is enough."

On Monday, Cherelle Griner said the planned phone call was "such a big deal because it would have been the first time I could really tell if she is okay." She said that since Brittney Griner was first detained, she has had to rely on what other people who have talked to Brittney Griner have told her.

Cherelle Griner said, "This would have been the first time I could really hear her in real time and know if she is okay or if she is just seconds away from no longer existing."
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