NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Explains Steps League’s Taking to Help Brittney Griner

by Dustin Schutte
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says the league is doing whatever it can to assist in helping bring Brittney Griner back to the United States. Silver addressed the topic on Monday during ESPN’s NBA Today.

Griner has been detained in Russia since February on drug-related charges. A court found the WNBA star guilty of the crime and sentenced her to nine years in prison. Silver said the NBA was told to remain measured before the trial and to not bring too much attention to the situation.

“Back in May, and even earlier when she was first imprisoned, we were told by experts in the U.S. government, it was not in her interest to raise the profile of her incarceration beyond where it was,” Silver said. “They thought it would reduce the chances of her getting out.

“Beyond that, clearly, we shifted gears. We have been very public about our belief that she deserves to be released at this point. … Any punishment at this point is dramatically disproportionate. There should be mercy to anyone in her position. We’ve had direct conversations with the White House, the State Department … we’re doing everything we know available to us at this point.”

Silver acknowledged that, beyond conversations with government officials, the league is unsure of what else can be done.

Brittney Griner’s Appeal Denied

Brittney Griner’s nightmare in Russia continued on Tuesday. According to The U.S. Sun, Griner’s appeal was denied by the court, meaning she must serve her nine-year prison sentence.

The court also required Griner to pay one million rubles in fines, which equates to approximately $16,000.

President Joe Biden and other United States government officials have expressed determination in bringing Griner home. A prisoner swap has been extended to Russia, but the two countries have been unable to come to an agreement.