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Brittney Griner Pleads for Help in Letter to President Biden: 'I'm Terrified I Might Be Here Forever'

People logo People 7/5/2022 Angela Andaloro

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Brittney Griner in Russian court on July 1 © Provided by People KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Brittney Griner in Russian court on July 1

Brittney Griner is pleading for President Joe Biden's help amid her arrest and detention in Russia.

On July 4, excerpts from a letter that the WNBA star penned to Biden were released by Griner's representatives. The 31-year-old has been detained in Moscow since February for allegedly possessing vape cartridges containing hash oil.

In the letter, obtained by ESPN's T.J. Quinn, Griner pleaded for freedom and expressed her fear that she may never return home.

"... as I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey or any accomplishments, I'm terrified I might be here forever," she wrote.

Griner reflected on the 4th of July holiday and what it has meant to her family, including her dad Raymond Griner and his military service.

"On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those men who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran," another excerpt read. "It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year."

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The letter to President Biden was handwritten, per ESPN. It is unclear how the letter was transported from Griner to the White House.

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RELATED: LeBron James Calls for Brittney Griner's Safe Return: 'Our Voice as Athletes Is Stronger Together'

Addressing President Biden directly, Griner acknowledged that he has many important matters at hand at this time, but begged him to help her, as well as the other detainees in Russia.

Video: Brittney Griner pleads with Biden to help secure freedom (ABC News)


"I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don't forget about me and the other detainees," she pleaded. "Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore."

"I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home," she added.

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RELATED: House Passes Bipartisan Resolution Pushing for Russia to Release WNBA Player Brittney Griner

The two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport in February after vape cartridges containing hash oil, an illegal substance in Russia, were allegedly found by authorities in her luggage.

The U.S. State Department later officially classified Griner as wrongfully detained by the Russian Federation. "Our position for some time on this has been very clear. Brittney Griner should not be detained. She should not be detained for a single day longer," Ned Price, State Department spokesperson, said in a June 14 press briefing.

On Friday, she began her trial in Russian court and will remain in custody until hearings are complete, her lawyer Alexander Boykov told The New York Times. If convicted, Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.

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In an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton last week, Griner's wife, Cherelle, gave an update on the situation and said she's very concerned about her wife's wellbeing.

"Because I'm her person, she will always try and write persuasively to make sure I don't break because she knows I'm studying for my bar and she knows I have all these things going on and she's trying to always be my strong person," Cherelle said.

Cherelle noted how Brittney has told her she's "hardened" and is not "on her knee right now" and will need time after she gets home to get back to herself. "But I'm holding on and I won't break until I come home," Griner wrote in a letter to Cherelle, which has been their only form of communication.

Gregory Shamus/Getty © Provided by People Gregory Shamus/Getty

As for what the government is doing to help, Cherelle said she doesn't have any concrete answers yet.

"I'm definitely being told a lot of persuasive statements that [Griner] is a priority and that they're doing everything that they can and that it's already at the highest point of the chain of command," she said. "That's leading me to believe that this matter is sitting right in front of Biden."

But so far, Cherelle claimed she isn't seeing any changes actually happening. "Nobody seems to be at a point where they can tell me anything, so I can only go off of what I see and what I see is my wife isn't here," she added.

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