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America’s Brittney Griner’s Russian detention hits 200-day mark



Monday marked 200 days since WNBA star Brittney Griner was first detained in a Russian airport.

The Phoenix Mercury center was arrested Feb. 17 with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.

Griner, 31, was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony on Aug. 4 on drug smuggling and possession charges.

On Monday — Labor Day in the United States — the Women’s National Basketball Players Association issued a plea on social media for all U.S. union members to sign a petition in support of Griner.

United States President Joe Biden has said Griner is being “wrongfully detained.”

Diplomats for Russia and the U.S. have reportedly discussed a prisoner swap to bring Griner and fellow American Paul Whelan home in exchange for the release of convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.


The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, Griner is a seven-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year with career averages of 17.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 254 games.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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