As basketball star Brittney Griner continues to be detained in Russia, the release of another imprisoned American has led to questions about how the federal government is responding to her case.
According to NBC News, on Wednesday, former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed was released by Russia during a prisoner exchange for convicted Russian drug trafficker Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn. While many on the internet were happy for Reed, there were also questions about why Griner was still being detained.
Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, expressed her love and happiness for the Reed family on Instagram.
“As I do everything in my power to get BG home my heart is overflowing with joy for The Reed Family. I do not personally know them, but I do know the pain of having your loved one detained in a foreign country,” Cherelle wrote. “That level of pain is constant and can only be remediated by a safe return home. For the Reed family, that day is today. Welcome Home Trevor, sending love to you and your family on this special day.”
The two-time Olympic gold medalist has been held in Russia since Feb. 17, when police said vape cartridges with hash oil were found in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. Despite warnings that Americans leave the country ahead of its invasion of Ukraine, Brittney was returning to play with her Russian team, UMMC Ekaterinburg.
The Phoenix Mercury center recently had her detainment extended to May 19, though she was finally given access to US consular services. In March an American embassy staffer who met with Griner reported that she was “in good condition.”
The United States government has been noticeably quiet on the WNBA star’s status, leading some to question its response to her situation. At a Wednesday briefing, senior administration officials said they are “‘very aware that there are other Americans held in Russia,’ adding that [former U.S. Marine Paul] Whelan and Griner are ‘very much in our minds today, even as we are so happy for the news about Trevor Reed.’”
“We will continue to work on an attempt to find ways to address other cases as best we can,” the officials said.
With diplomatic relations between Russia and the U.S. at their worst since the Cold War, negotiating for her release is extremely difficult. Per CNN, talks for Reed’s release began some time ago, but things became much more questionable after Russia invaded Ukraine, making it a pariah around the world.
Though she’s been playing in Russia for seven years, as a high-profile queer woman of color in a country with anti-LGBTQ+ laws, Griner is trapped in a dangerous situation with very little recourse, so we hope all this silence means the government is working behind the scenes to get her home.