The Phoenix Mercury said Monday the organization and WNBPA staff met with U.S. State Department officials to discuss Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia.
The State Department confirmed the meeting, which also involved officials from its office that advocates for hostages and wrongfully detained Americans. The Biden administration labeled Griner’s case a wrongful detention last month.
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Mercury players Brianna Turner and Diana Taurasi and head coach Vanessa Nygaard released statements through the team on Griner’s detention.
“Today we had a meeting with the State Department about BG. I’m confident in the State Department and the work that they’re doing. They encouraged us to keep speaking her name, to keep holding them accountable to bring BG back home as soon as possible,” Turner said.
Taurasi said getting Griner home was the main priority.
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“We’re here to do whatever we can to amplify and keep BG at the forefront, which is more important than any basketball game and anything else that’s going on in our lives. We want BG to come home as soon as possible. It’s number one on our list,” she said.
Nygaard added: “We are on day 116 since BG has been wrongfully detained. It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify that message and that we should continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home. She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her back home.”
Griner was arrested in February after allegedly trying to bring vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis through a Moscow airport. She’s only been seen publicly a few times since.
The Mercury also met with Reps. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., and Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, after their meeting with the State Department.
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“For the team, coaches and executives at the Mercury, every day without Brittney is a lifetime,” Stanton said. “I was glad for the opportunity to share the work we’re doing in Congress to secure Brittney’s release.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.