President Joe Biden and Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, spoke on the phone Wednesday after the president received a letter from Brittney Griner, who is imprisoned in Russia.
Griner has been detained in Russia since February, weeks before the nation launched an invasion of Ukraine. In the letter, Griner reportedly asked for Biden’s assistance to be released.
Griner was reportedly arrested for allegedly possessing hash oil. Like many WNBA stars, Griner plays overseas during the offseason.
She faced a judge last week in Russia on the charges. She could potentially face a decade in prison for the alleged crime.
But U.S. officials said they have been working toward Griner’s release.
“The president called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world. He also read her a draft of the letter the president is sending to Brittney Griner today,” the White House said in a statement.
The White House added it is pursuing “every avenue to bring Brittney home.” Biden directed National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to remain in contact with Cherelle Griner.
The 31-year-old has been one of the league’s most prolific stars since her 2013 professional debut. She is a seven-time All-Star and consistently one of the WNBA’s top scorers.