Brittney Griner speaks out after release from Russian prison, gives update on WNBA return


Brittney Griner breaks her silence for the first time since being released from a Russian prison earlier this month. 

The 32-year-old Phoenix Mercury star took to social media and thanked her wife Cherelle, family, friends, Biden-Harris administration and many others while crediting her faith for surviving her 294-day detainment in Russia.

"It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn," Griner wrote in her caption on Instagram. "I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help." 

One of the photos in Griner’s Instagram post showed the moment that she was reunited with her wife.

Griner was released to the United States after President Joe Biden exchanged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner in a prisoner swap on Dec. 8, which was four months after she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison for drug possession and smuggling charges.

In her public statement, Griner thanked President Joe Biden and added that she would use her platform to fight to bring imprisoned ex-Marine Paul Whelan home from Russia. Whelan is a U.S. citizen and former Marine that was detained at a Moscow hotel in December 2018 and arrested on espionage charges.

"President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too," she wrote. "I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole."

Griner made a return to the court earlier this week and participated in a light workout for the first time since her release, leaving many to wonder if a WNBA return was in her future. Griner now says it is. 

"I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon," she wrote.

The Mercury season kicks off this Spring and Griner will be making a much-anticipated return to the WNBA court.

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