Ten months after being detained in Russia for carrying hashish oil, WNBA legend Brittney Griner has been freed and is returning to the United States.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that the United States had agreed to a prisoner swap that brings Griner home to the U.S. In exchange, USA will send arms dealer Viktor Bout (also known as “The Merchant of Death”) and weapons smuggler Viktor Bout back to Russia.
Griner’s arrest and nine-year prison sentence in Russia has been one of the biggest news stories in 2022, but the saga has finally ended. The Phoenix Mercury star is coming home to reunite with her family.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, held an emotiona press conference at the White House following Thursday’s big news (transcriptions via Nicholas Rice of People). In the speech, Cherelle said her “family is whole”, offering gratitude towards Biden’s administration:
“So over the last nine months, you all have been so privy to one of the darkest moments of my life, and so today I am just standing here overwhelmed with emotions, but the most important emotion I have right now is just sincere gratitude for President Biden and his entire administration…
“Today my family is whole, but as you all are aware, there’s so many other families who aren’t whole. Thank you everybody for your support, and today’s just a happy day for me and my family, so I’m gonna smile right now. Thank you.”
You can watch the full video of Cherelle’s press conference below.
Brittney and Cherelle have been married since June 2019.
Griner was arrested on Feb. 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport for carrying under one gram of cannabis. The substance is illegal in Russia.
In August, Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison, though there was always hope that Biden’s administration would find a way to bring her home. After lengthy back-and-forth negotiations with Russian officials, Biden was able to secure a deal to bring the WNBA star home.
Griner is an eight-time WNBA All-Star who led the Mercury to the 2014 WNBA Championship. The 32-year-old has spent her entire WNBA career with Phoenix, winning the league scoring title in the 2017 and 2019 seasons.
The former Baylor star also played on the 2016 and 2020 U.S. women’s Olympics basketball teams, leading her nation to gold medals at both tournaments. Griner also guided the U.S. to FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup gold medals in 2014 and 2018.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.