Russian Court Announces Decision on Brittney Griner Drug Smuggling Conviction

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

In August, the Russian court system sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison. The charges came after she was convicted of drug smuggling. Following months of media coverage, Russian officials have heard Griner’s appeal. Unfortunately for the professional basketball player, she will be forced to serve her full sentence.

According to The U.S. Sun, Griner will officially begin serving her sentence unless the United States government decides to negotiate with Russia for a deal. For now, however, the outlet reports that Brittney Griner will be relocated to a penal colony.

The athlete was further ordered to pay one million rubles by the court, which translates to more than $16,000.

The news outlet reports that Griner received her final sentence at the Moscow Regional court via a video conference from the detention center where she’s currently held. Before hearing the verdict in August, Griner issued a number of apologies to friends and family back in the United States as well as to officials and citizens in the city of Yekaterinburg.

“I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of (Yekaterinburg) for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them.”

Brittney Griner was arrested in February after officials at a Moscow airport. At the time, they discovered vape cartridges in her luggage containing hashish oil.

Griner continued at the time, “I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Pheonix Mercury organization back home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home.”

Griner also emotionally addressed the Russian court. She added, “I made an honest mistake, and I hope in your ruling it does not end my life.”

Brittney Griner’s Wife’s Address to President Joe Biden:

Brittney Griner has seen tons of support from Americans since she was initially arrested in February. But supporters have become even more outspoken since hearing her sentence in August. Ahead of the basketball player’s hearing on Tuesday though, Griner’s wife Cherelle addressed President Biden and the administration. She highlighted their efforts in trying to bring the WNBA star home.

“I want to thank President Biden for the Administration’s efforts to secure [Brittney’s] release,” Cherelle began. “As my family and I continue on this journey, I’d like to thank our friends, leaders and supporters who continue to stand with us and advocate for Brittney’s swift and safe return.”

In addition to addressing the U.S. government, Cherelle also spoke about the last several months without her spouse.

“I’ve felt every moment of the grueling seven months without her,” she said.

Cherelle also celebrated Griner’s 32nd birthday on Instagram, further advocating for her release earlier this month.

“Today marks eight months without my person!” she wrote on social media. “I could never forget you, and will not rest until you’re home.”