WNBA commissioner expresses support for Griner ahead of draft

By Nick Sanchez
Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2022 - 12:33pm
Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2022 - 1:35pm

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Brittney Griner Phoenix Mercury
James Franks/Cronkite News
Brittney Griner

Before Monday night’s WNBA Draft, league commissioner Cathy Engelbert expressed her concern for Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner.

Engelbert spoke about Griner ahead of the first pick in the WNBA Draft. The Mercury center was detained on Feb. 17 in Moscow after Russian authorities allegedly found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. The charge could carry a maximum of 10 years in prison. Engelbert says Griner’s return is still top-of-mind for the league.   

"This continues to be complex," Engelbert said. "Obviously, we’re getting a ton of support from the government, from specialists. Her representation are able to visit with Brittney, we know she’s safe." 

Engelbert addressed frustrations of the WNBA community while praising players for their patience.

"I know we’re all frustrated, but we do need to be patient," Engelbert said. "I know the players have been amazing at following the advice that they’re getting and we’re getting in order not to jeopardize her safety in any way.”

Griner plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg of the Russian league during the WNBA offseason.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Brittney Griner’s name.

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