Warriors’ Stephen Curry Appeals For Brittney Griner’s Release During Ring Ceremony

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2022 NBA Preseason officially over, the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors have ushered in the regular season by trying to do their part to help bring WNBA star Brittney Griner home from Russia. The Warriors had the team’s ring ceremony on Tuesday. Point guard Stephen Curry took a moment to use the platform to appeal for Griner’s release from Russian custody. Curry also wished Griner a happy birthday, as the player turned 32-years-old.

“She’s 32 years old. We want to continue to let her name be known, and we pray — it’s been 243 days since she’s been wrongfully incarcerated in Russia — we hope that she comes home soon and that everybody’s doing their part to bring her home.”

Griner initially intended to fly over to the country to play for the UMMC Ekaterinburg while the WNBA was in its offseason. Vape cartridges containing cannabis oils were reportedly found in Griner’s luggage at the Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. She was soon charged with smuggling drugs into Russia, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Brittney’s attorney Maria Blagovolina reportedly brought a U.S doctors note to Russian court, stating that the player was prescribed cannabis in order to treat pain.

During her drug trial, Griner entered a guilty plea to narcotics possession & possession charges. She acknowledged that the oils were in her luggage and that they were inadvertently packed. Griner testified that she had no criminal intent. A Russian court sentenced her to nine-years in prison and Griner later filed to appeal the decision. Griner’s appeal hearing is scheduled to take place October 25th.

The Biden Administration has offered Russia a potential prisoner exchange. According to officials, the administration has reportedly offered Russian Arms Dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner, and Paul Whelan. Reports say Whelan was initially detained at a hotel in Moscow. Whelan was soon arrested on alleged espionage charges, and sentenced to 16 years in prison after being convicted of the charges in June 2020.

It has been a trying time for Brittney according to her wife, Cherelle Griner. Cherelle said that Brittney was at her “absolute weakest moment in life” when they last spoke on the phone, and expressed fear of being left behind and forgotten about. She said Brittney even felt that her life did not matter. For more on her heartbreaking words, read the recap HERE.

“My brain can’t even fathom it,” Cherelle stated to CBS. “You could hear that she was not doing OK.”

Yahoo Sports has more HERE.