Brittney Griner’s wife says she is terrified she won’t get her partner back

AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner sits in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

Cherelle Griner said she is terrified that she won’t get her partner, WNBA star Brittney Griner, back from her detention in Russia, and said that she feels like she’s stuck in a movie.

Cherelle Griner told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King that her wife is a “hostage” in Russia and that she is praying everyday that “the decision-makers will have mercy” on her.

“It’s like a movie for me. In no world would I have ever thought our president and a foreign nation president would be sitting down having to discuss the freedom of my wife,” she said in the interview that aired Thursday. “It feels to me as if she is a hostage. … It terrifies me.”

Brittney Griner, an all-star center for the WNBA Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained in February after she traveled to Russia to compete.

She was sentenced to nine years in prison for carrying cannabis oil vape cartridges with her into Russia, which has strict drug laws.

She has an appeal date set for Oct. 25.

Cherelle Griner said Thursday that the second phone call she had with her wife was the “most disturbing phone call I’ve ever experienced” and that she is worried Brittney Griner has nothing “left in her tank.”

“The minute I hung up I think I cried for two or three days straight,” she said. “You could hear that she was not OK. … If you think about a person who is suffering and when they have suffered to a max, you can hear that she was at the max. And there was nothing I could do.”

President Biden has been working to secure the release of Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, both of whom the administration believes are wrongfully detained amid soaring tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the war in Ukraine.

There have been few developments since the talks were reported, although some reports suggested the U.S. may trade convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout for the American detainees.

Cherelle Griner on Thursday said there needs to be an “open mind” between the two governments. She said she was concerned that her wife could be “moved to a labor camp” after her appeal hearing.

“My brain can’t even fathom it,” she said, adding she was “preparing for the worst” as the news of her partner’s condition keeps shifting. “I feel like everyday I hear something new, and it’s terrifying.”

Tags Brittney Griner Brittney Griner CBS Mornings CBS News Cherelle Griner Gayle King Russia Russian detainee

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