Sue Bird and other WNBA players have been able to write to Brittney Griner during her detainment in Russia, the Seattle Storm star revealed on the latest episode of The Players’ Pod.
Players have an email address to which they can send letters, and then those letters can be delivered to Griner by her lawyer.
“I’ve been sending her these short stories,” she said. “The whole idea is that her Russian lawyer can print that and give her something to have. And that’s the one way to communicate. We all write her and we think about her.”
Griner has been detained in Russia since February, when she was taken into custody in a Moscow airport for alleged possession of hashish oil. The seven-time WNBA All-Star was in the country to play for Russian club UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason, which she has done since 2015.
Russian authorities have charged Griner with “large-scale transportation of drugs,” which could carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, but the U.S. government considers the Phoenix Mercury star to be “wrongfully detained.”
In an interview with “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, Griner’s wife Cherelle Griner also said that she has been able to write letters to Brittney. They have had no verbal communication since Brittney’s arrest.
Early in Griner’s detention, Cherelle Griner and WNBA players were asked to keep mum on the situation to help keep the Mercury star safe.
“The hard part was, early on, knowing the strategy was to be quiet,” Bird said. “Because we didn’t want BG to be a political pawn.
“It was hard because, all of us, it’s so tough to think of BG who is this gentle giant, sweetest human, sitting in a Russian jail cell. Every time her hearing comes up, they push it back. So just understanding that emotional roller coaster, the toll it must be taking on her.”
The strategy has changed in recent weeks, and the WNBA season has provided a constant reminder of Griner’s plight.
“In general I think we all just miss her,” Bird said. “Early in the season, one of our preseason games was in Phoenix and that I think was when it hit me the hardest. I can’t imagine what the Phoenix players go through, because I think of BG often.”
The WNBA is currently honoring Griner with a floor decal that has her initials and jersey number (42) on the sidelines of all 12 WNBA courts. Additionally, every team is holding a shoe drive for Griner’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive.
In addition to honoring Griner throughout the season, the WNBPA, Griner’s agency and others have come together to create a website dedicated to helping bring her home. The site provides visitors with ways to get involved in helping to secure Griner’s release.
“I know people see her as a basketball player, an Olympian, this and that,” said Bird, who played with Griner on the 2016 and 2020 Olympic teams. “To us, it’s like, it’s BG, it’s the homie, it’s our friend, it’s our teammate.
“Now the strategy has shifted because she has been tabbed as wrongfully detained. Now the government can get much more involved and we can do our part to make sure that they are true to their word. Anything we can do to shed light on it, keep her name at the forefront, we are doing.”