Brittney Griner, 32, spoke out for the first time after she returned home to the US from Russia, where she spent 10 months in prison. “It feels so good to be home!” Brittney wrote on Instagram Dec. 16, alongside photos of her stepping off the plane in Texas and reuniting with her wife Cherelle Griner. “The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help,” the athlete added.
Brittney confirmed that she’s returning to the WNBA in her post. But before that, she thanked everyone who supported her while she was imprisoned in Russia. She gave a special shoutout to the President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for securing her release.
“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too,” Brittney wrote. “I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.”
Brittney also thanked the staff and medical team at San Antonio Fort Sam Houston Base, where Brittney and her wife have been staying since she came home. Then, Brittney made the big reveal about her future in the WNBA. “I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon,” she said to conclude her message.
Brittney was arrested for possession of marijuana vape cartridges in February, shortly before Russia’s war with Ukraine began. She was tried and found guilty in August. Despite her lawyer’s appeals, she was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony, which she had been transferred to the penal colony in November before her release was finalized. Brittney was released in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who had been arrested in 2008 for conspiring to kill Americans.
President Biden announced the release of Brittney on December 8. “Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner,” he wrote on Twitter. “She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home.” Brittney’s wife, Chanelle Griner, was with the President, as the prisoner release was confirmed.
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