Brittney Griner is finally home after spending nine months in Russian custody following a Feb. 17 arrest. As previously reported by REVOLT, the Olympian was sentenced to nine years in prison for traveling through an airport with a vape cartridge that contained cannabis oil. She later admitted to accidentally packing the paraphernalia, and her attorneys asserted the athlete was prescribed the drug to treat chronic pain.
The WNBA All-Star landed at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas earlier this morning (Dec. 9), according to CBS News. While her sentence was widely considered excessive and many fought for her release, reports of her return came as a surprise. After months of promises, President Joe Biden made the announcement yesterday (Dec. 8). “Moments ago, I spoke to Brittney Griner. She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home,” Biden said via Twitter. The 32-year-old was released from Russia in a trade for another inmate, international arms dealer Viktor Bout.
So happy to have Brittney back on U.S. soil. Welcome home BG!
— U.S. Special Presidential Envoy Roger D. Carstens (@StateSPEHA) December 9, 2022
Roger Carstens, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, also confirmed Griner’s arrival with a tweet. “So happy to have Brittney back on U.S. soil. Welcome home, BG!” he wrote. CBS News noted that the first order of business will be to have the Phoenix Mercury player undergo a medical evaluation. The outlet mentioned that it’s standard procedure for newly freed American prisoners. “After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones and she should have been there all along. This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time. We never stopped pushing for her release,” Biden revealed.
Aside from a huge smile, the basketball player was sporting another noticeable look. Photos and videos of Griner on her way home showed the 6’9” center absent of her signature locs. Footage of her sitting on a plane traveling back to America was uploaded online. In it, Griner admitted to feeling “good” and “happy.”
See related posts below.
Grateful for the long-overdue release of Brittney Griner today from Russian custody. Kudos to @POTUS and his administration for the difficult diplomatic work involved to make it happen. We’re looking forward to having Brittney back home. https://t.co/G5yKliRoxd
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 8, 2022
After months of wrongful detention in Russia, Brittney Griner is on her way home to her wife Cherelle and her other loved ones. We will not cease in our efforts until Paul Whelan is back with his family, too.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) December 8, 2022