Britney Griner is a local celeb here in Phoenix. She plays for the WNBA Phoenix Mercury and in the off season she also plays for a Russian team. Last month she flew back to Moscow but was detained at the airport.
Griner, who plays in the Russian Premier league between WNBA seasons, was arrested at a Moscow-area airport after Russian officials accused her of carrying vape cartridges in her luggage that contained hashish oil, considered there to be a narcotic. The offense can carry up to 10 years in prison, a sentence some experts speculate could include time spent in a labor camp.
I was initially baffled at the absolute silence being observed over here. There's nothing on the news, from the team, no apparent attempt to get her back or help her. But some interesting thoughts emerging why that may be.
Richard Stoll, the Albert Thomas Professor of Political Science at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, said the silence surrounding Griner's case may be part of a greater strategy to help release her or at least grant the two-time Olympic gold medalist a lesser sentence.
Current timing with Russia could be everything.
Under normal circumstances, if the U.S. government indicated interest and concern about Griner, it would likely help, Stoll said. However, given the U.S.'s current relationship with Russia, he said, "If President Biden made some comment about her, and I'm in the Russian legal system and part of the trial… I think my government would appreciate it if I just put the most extreme sentence that we can impose on someone who's committed this crime.
Silence around Brittney Griner's Russia detainment is deafening, and likely intentional says Rice University professor