The Phoenix Mercury met with U.S. State Department to discuss Brittney Griner’s wrongful detention in Russia

The Phoenix Mercury players, coaches, staff, and the player’s union, the WNBPA, met with members of the United States Department of State to discuss the status of teammate Brittney Griner’s wrongful detention in Russia. Today marks 166 days that the Mercury center has been detained. Following the meeting, the team met with U.S. Congressman Greg Stanton of Arizona and U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee from Griner’s hometown of Houston, Texas.   


Guard Diana Taurasi: “There is a lot involved in getting her back home and safe, they’re working relentlessly. 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. Once we knew that BG was classified as wrongfully detained, that was a signal to us all. It’s something that we’ve all talked about intimately as a group and now knowing the State Department at the highest level, from U.S President Joe Biden to the team that is working on bringing back all Americans who are wrongfully detained, gives us a lot of confidence that they’re working on it. Anything that we can do on our side to amplify and to put BG first will be our number one priority.”

Forward Brianna Turner: “Today we had a meeting with the State Department about BG.  I’m confident in the State Department and the work that they’re doing. They encouraged us to keep speaking her name, to keep holding them accountable to bring BG back home as soon as possible.”

Head Coach Vanessa Nygaard: “We are on day 116 since BG has been wrongfully detained. It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify that message and that we should continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home. She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her back home.”

Congressman Greg Stanton: “For the team, coaches and executives at the Mercury, every day without Brittney is a lifetime. I was glad for the opportunity to share the work we’re doing in Congress to secure Brittney’s release.”  Stanton is leading a bipartisan resolution in Congress calling for Griner’s immediate release. 

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