US Russia Griner Whelan

Brittney Griner, shown in October 2021, will reportedly remain in Russian custody at least until July 2. Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

WNBA star Brittney Griner will remain in custody for at least 18 more days, according to Russian media.

A Russian court extended Griner’s detention through at least July 2, ABC News reported, citing Russian state media outlet Tass.

The seven-time WNBA All-Star center for the Phoenix Mercury was arrested by Russian authorities in February after hashish oil was allegedly found in her luggage at an airport in Moscow.

She was accused of smuggling large quantities of a narcotic substance, an offense that can carry a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars.

In May, the U.S. State Department determined that Griner was being “wrongfully detained by the Russian government.”

On Monday, State Department officials met with Mercury officials to discuss Griner’s detention.


“There is a lot involved in getting her back home and safe, they’re working relentlessly,” Mercury star Diana Taurasi said after the meeting, according to The Associated Press.

“We’re here to do whatever we can to amplify and keep BG at the forefront, which is more important than any basketball game and anything else that’s going on in our lives. We want BG to come home as soon as possible, it’s number one on our list,” she added.

A social media campaign has been pushing the White House to “please free your friend,” as the player’s family, friends, fellow players and fans post messages on Twitter using the hashtags #WeAreBG and #FreeBrittneyGriner.

Despite all efforts, however, the openly gay athlete will remain in Russia — a notoriously anti-LGBTQ country, where public discussions or positive messages about LGBTQ issues are illegal — until at least early next month.

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