To Brittney Griner’s family, friends, teammates and coaches, her situation is simple:
The Mercury center has been detained since being arrested in February at a Moscow airport on charges of possession and transportation of cannabis. President Biden and the U.S. government have the power to cut a deal to have her released. Now.
“I think that POTUS and the White House still need to step up and do something, because 130 days is way too long for someone who’s been wrongfully imprisoned,” Mercury guard Sophie Cunningham said after Monday’s game.
“When he (Biden) decides that she’s going to come home, she’ll come home,” Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “So, we want to urge him to do his part and bring Brittney home.”
The sentiments are understandable, but few things in life are that simple. A potential swap of prisoners by two countries with a tattered relationship certainly isn’t.
No matter what your opinion might be of Biden, it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t want Griner to come home. She’s been held for more than four months and just now, on Friday, is her trial scheduled to start. Not that it will be much of a trial. It’s been reported that fewer than one percent of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted. If convicted, Griner could face 10 years in prison.
But the White House and the State Department wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they weren’t trying to drive a hard bargain with the Russians.