The head coach of the American women's basketball team, Becky Hammon, who previously played for the Russian team, appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a request to "do the right thing" and release American basketball star Brittney Griner. Greiner has been in a Russian pre-trial detention center for six months on charges of drug smuggling - a couple of vapes were found in her things at the airport, the check showed that they contained hash oil, which is allowed in a number of US states.
“This is something that is obviously very close to me, and therefore I ask the Russian authorities to do the right thing. It's never too late to do the right thing,” Hammon said. We ask for indulgence. We ask for mercy. And we're asking you to bring Brittney Griner home. Imagine the agony of waiting you would be going through right now if it were your daughter, or your sister, or your wife, or anyone else.”
Hammon also noted that as a sports fan, Putin should be against such harassment of athletes. According to her, Griner's arrest could lead to consequences for all Russian athletes, and the United States has leverage to put pressure on Russia, but expressed the hope that this will not come to that.
On August 2, the last meeting of the Khimki city court in the Greiner case took place, she pleaded guilty. The basketball player faces five to ten years in prison. She can be exchanged for Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in America on charges of illegal arms trafficking. With such a proposal, US President Joe Biden addressed the Russian authorities.
Greiner is one of the most decorated basketball players in the world. She was a two-time Olympian and two-time world champion with Team USA, and a WNBA champion with Phoenix in 2014. The center is included in the official list of the 25 best players in the women's NBA. He has been playing for the Yekaterinburg UMMC since 2015.
Hammon played for the Russian national team in 2008-2012, in 2008 she received Russian citizenship and won bronze medals at the Beijing Olympics as part of the Russian team. Immediately after that, Hammon announced that she was no longer a citizen of the Russian Federation.