Brittney Griner is now finally speaking out since she was traded for an arms dealer that got her freed from a Russian Penal Colony where she was sentenced to be for the next nine years.
Griner took to her Instagram page and released a lengthy statement.
“It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn,” Griner wrote on Instagram. “I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.”
The U.S. swapped the WNBA star for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout on Dec. 8th.
Her post on Instagram included her walking off a plane at Fort Hood upon returning to the U.S. and a photo of her hugging her wife, Cherelle.
Griner was originally taken into custody at a Moscow area airport in February in possession of vaping cartridges containing hashish oil, an illegal substance in Russia. She would plead guilty and be sentenced to nine years in prison in August. Her appeal was rejected in October and she would soon be transported to the Penal Colony.
“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too,” she wrote. “I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.”
Griner also made it clear she has every plan of playing in the WNBA again.
“I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon,” she wrote.
On Friday, Griner also left the medical military facility in Texas to return to her home. Griner stayed at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio for a week for routine evaluation.
For the two-time Olympic gold medalist, the practice of her traveling to Russia to play basketball in the offseason is likely over forever.
Despite her return, the U.S. is still trying desperately to get former marine Paul Whelan out of a Russian prison as well.