Brittney Griner‘s wife Cherelle Griner is holding out hope for a reunion with the WNBA star.
In a July 4 letter to President Joe Biden, the WNBA star said she was “terrified” she might remain imprisoned in Russia “forever.” A heartbreaking statement for Cherelle especially, who called her wife the “strongest person” she knows.
“She doesn’t say words like that lightly,” Cherelle said during a July 5 interview with CBS This Morning. “That means she truly is terrified that she may never see us again. And you know, I share those same sentiments.”
Brittney’s letter to the president was an effort to help her family better communicate with the U.S. government, according to Cherelle.
“I know my wife really well,” Cherelle—who has only communicated with Brittney through letters—shared. “So, I feel confident in saying that I think the decision for her to feel the need to directly reach out to President Biden is because of the failed attempts that we have had as a family.”
Cherelle continued, “She’s there and she knows that we are doing everything that we can in our own strength to ask to meet with the president and to request that they do everything they can to get her home. And it kills me every time that when I have to write her and she’s asking, ‘Have you met with him yet?’ And, you know, I have to say no. And she’s like, ‘You know what, I’m gonna write him and ask now because my family has tried and him to no avail. So, I’m gonna do it myself.”
Throughout her imprisonment, numerous NBA and WNBA stars have called for her release. But as Cherelle explained, those closest to her are pressing forward the best way they can.
“Everything about this is a calculation for me because I have to walk the fine line of harm versus help when it comes to my wife right now,” Cherelle said. “So, as much as I want to advocate for her and push for our governments to do everything, I also have to take into account that she’s in a position where she could be harmed also, by any and everything I do, and so, it’s a thin line to walk.”
Although Cherelle said she was initially told to “stay quiet,” that’s simply not an option for her.
“I did that and, respectfully, we’re over 140 days at this point, that does not work,” Cherelle continued. “So, I will not be quiet anymore. I will find that balance of harm versus help in pushing our government to do everything that’s possible because being quiet—they are not moving, they are not doing anything. And my wife is struggling, and we have to help her.”
As Brittney shared in her letter, her message landing on the desk of the White House on a national holiday had more of a personal meaning.
“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” Brittney wrote. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
In mid-February, Brittney was arrested at an airport in Moscow for allegedly having vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. And while the Phoenix Mercury star appeared in court for the first hearing of her trial July 2, she did not enter a plea. If convicted, she faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
The next session for Brittney’s court hearing is scheduled for July 7.
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