Brittney Griner’s wife Cherelle is opening up publicly for the first time since the basketball phenom was handed down a sentence of 9 years in Russian prison over her illegal possession of hash oil at the country’s airport.
Speaking with Gayle King on Thursday’s episode of CBS This Morning, Griner expressed fear and sadness about her wife’s detainment, and the ongoing confusion surrounding whether or not the U.S. Government will retrieve one of its star athletes from what seems to be political detainment.
“I mean, this is my life. So, I’m sitting there like, ‘Do we get her back? Do I ever get to see my wife again?’ Like, what happens here?” Griner wondered aloud to Gayle King during their CBS This Morning interview. “The fact that everything’s so unprecedented and everything’s, like, changeable I think is a really good word. Like, I feel like every day I’m hearing something new, and so it’s just kind of like, it’s terrifying.”
Brittney Griner reportedly has an upcoming appeal to her sentence. However, just days before Griner’s interview, The White House called the hearing “another sham judicial proceeding” in the WNBA star’s ongoing detainment.
For his part, President Biden says he has instructed his administration to engage with Russia extensively and at multiple levels to ensure the safe return of Griner. But for her wife, waiting stateside with undefined answers and little to no contact, the ordeal is both surreal and frightening.
“It’s like a movie for me. In no world did I ever [think], you know, our president and a foreign nation president would be sitting down having to discuss the freedom of my wife,” Griner said. “And so to me, as much as everybody’s telling me a different definition of what B.G. is, it feels to me as if she’s a hostage.”
For Griner, the thought of her wife as a hostage is one that unnerves her, as the outcome of her plight in Russia remains uncertain.
“It terrifies me because, I mean, when you watch movies, like, sometimes those situations don’t end well,” she said, becoming emotional. “Sometimes they never get the person back.”
Griner says though she respect’s Russia’s rights to their own laws and legal processes, the punishment her wife is receiving far outweighs the infraction itself.
“I do believe a crime should warrant a punishment. But it must be balanced,” she told King. “B.G. has truly suffered beyond her crime already.”
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