Yesterday (Dec. 21), WNBA star Brittney Griner used Instagram to pen an open letter to fans thanking them for their continued support. As previously reported by REVOLT, the Phoenix Mercury athlete was released from Russian custody on Dec. 8 after being detained for approximately 10 months for traveling through an airport with a vape cartridge containing cannabis oil.
“Thanks to the efforts of many, including you, I am home after nearly 10 months. You took time to show me you cared, and I want to personally take the time to write you and say that your effort mattered,” her message began. Griner continued, “Your letters helped me to not lose hope during a time where I was full of regret and vulnerable in ways I could have never imagined. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because of you, I never lost hope.” On Oct. 18, Griner’s wife launched a website in the basketball player’s name called WeAreBG.org, which allowed supporters to send words of encouragement to the athlete.
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Griner’s case also brought attention to Paul Whelan, a former United States marine detained in Russia since December 2018 on accusations of spying. “Those families stood alongside you and all who supported the WeAreBG campaign, to bring me home, and it’s our turn to support them. I hope you’ll join me in writing to Paul Whelan and continuing to advocate for other Americans to be rescued and returned to their families,” the 32-year-old said. Whelan and the United States government have maintained that the former marine is innocent as he remains in custody for a 16-year sentence.
Following the Olympian’s release, President Biden gave an update on Whelan’s situation. “For totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s, and while we have not succeeded in securing Paul’s release, we are not giving up,” he noted. Griner concluded her message with, “Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I hope your holiday season is full of joy and love.”