On Thursday, WNBA player Brittney Griner appeared before the National Action Network women’s empowerment luncheon in New York City.
In February of last year, the Phoenix Mercury star was arrested in a Moscow airport after security found traces of hash oil in her luggage. She was detained in a Russian prison before going to trial, where she pled guilty to drug smuggling charges.
Griner was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was only behind bars for 294 days. Ever since her detainment, the United States government worked tirelessly to bring the basketball star back to American soil. After bargaining with the Russian government, the Biden administration agreed to swap arms dealer Viktor Bout for the athlete. At the end of 2022, the 46th president was proud to announce she was on a plane home.
Since Griner’s return, she has acclimated back to life in the United States and even re-signed a contract with the Phoenix Mercury to keep playing professional basketball. Most recently, she stood before the National Action Network and personally thanked all the people who helped bring her home.
“Everyone in this room that came together, that sent up every prayer, it reached me while I was there [in Russia],” she said in a speech. “I want to continue to fight to bring every American detained overseas.”
Brittney Griner discusses her ‘incredibly challenging 10 months in detainment’ in upcoming book
She also recently announced her plan to tell the “raw, emotional” story of her arrest and ten-month detainment through an upcoming memoirs expected to be released in the spring of 2024.
“I arrived in Moscow to rejoin the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team and was immediately detained at the airport. That day was the beginning of an unfathomable period in my life which only now am I ready to share,” Griner wrote in the caption of an Instagram post.
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“After an incredibly challenging 10 months in detainment, I am grateful to have been rescued and to be home,” she continued. “Readers will hear my story and understand why I’m so thankful for the outpouring of support from people across the world.”
The book is also expected to detail her trial, the efforts to bring her home, and the beginning of the #WeAreBG movement. “At the heart of the book, Griner highlights the personal turmoil she experienced during the near ten-month ordeal and the resilience that carried her through to the day of her return to the United States last December,” a press release said.
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