After nearly 300 days of wrongful detainment in Russia, WNBA star Brittney Griner is back in the United States. The plane bringing her from the United Arab Emirates, the site of the prisoner swap, to San Antonio, Texas landed early Friday morning. On Thursday, a senior Biden administration official told The Root that the two-time Olympic gold medalist will undergo a medical evaluation and have access to services that are provided to all hostages returning home to the U.S.
The Griner family issued a statement thanking everyone involved in negotiating the prisoner swap, as well as supporters who have rallied for the WNBA champion’s freedom. They also offered prayers for the Whelan family.
“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to President Biden and his administration for the tireless work they did to bring Brittney home. We would also like to extend a special thank you to Governor Richardson and Mickey Bergman of the Richardson Center for their work, as well as remaining in constant communication with us.
We sincerely thank you all for the kind words, thoughts and prayers—including Paul and the Whelan family who have been generous with their support for Brittney and our family during what we know is a heartbreaking time. We pray for Paul and for the swift and safe return of all wrongfully-detained Americans.
We ask that you respect our privacy as we embark on this road to healing.”
The Griner Family”
The White House released a video of the moment where President Biden tells Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, that the basketball star is headed home.
“She’s on the ground,” Biden tells Cherelle. To which she replies, “Stop it.” The president then says, “Yep. She’s on the ground” and Cherelle responds, “It’s just such a good day!”
Now that Brittney is back home with her family and friends, it’s essential that we all back off and give her time to readjust to her life. Let the Phoenix Mercury center tell her story when and how she pleases. And more than anything, do not rush her back on the court. If or when she decides to return to basketball is up to Brittney and her family. Give her the space to heal.