Sheila Jackson Lee, a congresswoman from Texas, is calling for the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner.
She was held by Russian police for reportedly carrying a vaporizer containing cannabis oil. Griner is a member of the Houston Comets.
In a statement on Saturday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents Griner’s hometown of Houston in Congress, stated, “We are aware there were some concerns involving vape cartridges and other products, but let me be very clear.”
“Brittney Griner is a citizen of the United States, and she was a visitor in Russia. I will indeed be demanding her freedom.”
I hope when Brittney Griner eventually makes it back to the United States, that she's found a new appreciation for the National Anthem and everything it stands for. pic.twitter.com/q50QashVL7
— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) March 5, 2022
Lee went on to say she communicated with officials at the State Department in an attempt to “get them to concentrate on her conditions.”
Lee said, “I don’t want to dismiss a sovereign country, but Putin has ignored sovereign states during his whole tenure on this globe.”
“No one has the power to make Ms. Griner accountable for the murdering, assaulting, and damaging of Ukrainian citizens in a neighboring nation that is not harming them. Period.”
“Any alleged infraction must be dealt with diplomatically,” Lee said, noting Griner’s “storied past of Olympic gold medals.”
The congresswoman added a Moscow incarceration is “no place for Griner,” especially in light of the fact Putin is rumored to have detained thousands of pro-Ukraine war protesters in detention centers.
Russia Reported the Arrest
State media reports on Saturday claimed Griner (a sports player who ended up being detained earlier this year after reportedly being discovered having a vaping cartridge possessing hash oil) had been detained by the Russian authorities.
Russia’s Federal Customs Service revealed CCTV footage from an investigation into the event. In this footage, it looked as if Griner was passing through screening at Sheremetyevo International Airport, which is located near Moscow.
According to Russian officials, if Griner is found guilty, she may face a sentence ranging from five to ten years in prison.
The WNBA Offseason
During the WNBA’s offseason, Griner was in Russia, where she was a member of the UMMC Ekaterinburg women’s basketball squad.
In the WNBA’s summer, several players take advantage of the chance to earn rich contracts that usually surpass what they would make inside the United States by competing abroad.
On Saturday, Griner’s agent said in a statement to ESPN that the situation is an “ongoing legal problem” and they are in discussions with WNBA and the NBA.
More than likely, Griner will face jail time. There’s a low chance Russia will release an American citizen who was caught breaking the law right after the US placed major sanctions on Russia.
Russian media has reported that an American female was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow last month for drug smuggling. The Phoenix Suns confirms the woman is WNBA lesbian star player Brittney Griner. (Arrest photo from a prior assault & domestic violence case.) pic.twitter.com/wJNAJJzdNC
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) March 5, 2022
Besides Rep. Lee, most lawmakers could care less that Griner was arrested and some might even say, “Griner who?”.