“Thinking of BG and how much light she relentlessly brought to everyone around her,” tweeted Brianna Turner, who plays with the Olympic gold medalist, 31, on the Phoenix Mercury. “Even after sentencing is complete I hope @POTUS & @WhiteHouse will continue to do everything in their power to bring Brittney Griner & all other Americans detained abroad home.”
The Houston native was convicted in a Russian court on Thursday, August 4, six months after she was arrested and detained at a Moscow airport. She was sentenced to nine years in prison and fined 1 million rubles, or about $16,400.
After the court issued its verdict, President Joe Biden called Griner’s sentence “unacceptable” in a statement released by the White House. “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” the former senator, 79, said. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.”
The former vice president continued: “My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.” (Whelan, 52, is a former Marine who has been detained in Russia since December 2018.)
Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, previously slammed the Biden administration for failing to act to free the athlete. “Initially, you know, I was told … we’re going to try and handle this behind [the] scenes and, you know, let’s not raise her value and, you know, stay quiet and, you know, I did that,” the North Carolina Central University graduate, 30, said during a June interview with CBS Mornings. “And respectfully, we’re over 140 days at this point, that does not work, and so I will not be quiet anymore.”
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris later phoned Cherelle to discuss Brittney’s case and offer support. The president also wrote Brittney a letter, which Cherelle said brought her wife “so much joy” amid her detention.
“I believe every word that she said to him, he understood and he sees her as a person,” Cherelle said in a July press conference. “And he has not forgotten her, which was her biggest cry in her letter.”
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert and NBA commissioner Adam Silver also weighed in on Brittney’s sentence in a joint statement on Thursday, saying: “Today’s verdict and sentencing is unjustified and unfortunate, but not unexpected and Brittney Griner remains wrongly detained. The WNBA and NBA’s commitment to her safe return has not wavered and it is our hope that we are near the end of this process of finally bringing BG home to the United States.”
Keep scrolling for more celebrity reactions to Brittney’s conviction.