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The Washington Mystics were outspoken about their support for Brittney Griner, who was detained in Russia in February for allegedly bringing vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis through a Moscow airport.
Griner was top of mind for the WNBA and its 12 teams Friday night. A “BG 42” decal was placed on each court as the 2022 season tipped off.
The Washington Mystics celebrate after a game against the Indiana Fever May 6, 2022, at Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. (Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
After the Mystics defeated the Indiana Fever 84-70, Natasha Cloud read a statement from the team.
“It has been 78 days since our friend, teammate, sister Brittney Griner has wrongfully been detained in Russia. It is time for her to come home. Know that we are watching, we are paying attention. We are BG,” the Mystics statement said.
The U.S. State Department determined Russia “wrongfully detained” the Phoenix Mercury center when she was arrested in February, an official said in a statement to Fox News Digital Tuesday.
A young Phoenix Mercury fan hoists a “Free Brittney Griner” sign during a WNBA game against the Las Vegas Aces, Friday, May 6, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
She’s expected to have a hearing in Russia May 19.
“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is among the highest priorities of the U.S government,” a State Department spokesperson said. “The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner.
“With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release.”
Fox News Digital also confirmed Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico and a U.S. ambassador for the Clinton administration, agreed to help work on the Griner case. Richardson helped secure the release of American journalist Danny Fenster from a Burmese prison in November.
A floor decal in front of the scorer’s table pays tribute to the Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner before a WNBA game between the Mercury and the Las Vegas Aces May 6, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
Griner’s family requested Richardson and the Richardson Center to work on her behalf to secure her return to the U.S.