LeBron James calls for detained WNBA star Brittney Griner's safe return from Russia
LeBron James is urging others to help WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia for more than 100 days. Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February after Russian officials said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges with oil derived from cannabis, and her detention has already been extended twice.
"We need to come together and help do whatever we possibly can to bring BG home quickly and safely!!" James wrote on Twitter. "Our voice as athletes is stronger together."
James and his company Uninterrupted encouraged others to learn about Griner's case, sign a Change.org petition, and post about her case on social media to encourage President Biden and Vice President Harris to take more action to bring her back to the U.S.
"For over 100 days, BG has faced inhumane conditions in a Russian prison and has been denied communications with her family and loved ones," Uninterrupted said in a statement tweeted by James. "As a decorated Olympian and member of an elite global sport community, BG's detention must be resolved out of respect for the sanctity of all sport and for all Americans traveling internationally."
To honor Griner, the Boston Celtics wore "We Are BG" shirts at a recent practice.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, plays abroad during the WNBA offseason. The "We Are BG" campaign says on its website that she does so because "substantially bigger contracts" than those in the U.S. are available abroad. "Pay inequity has led to Brittney Griner's wrongful detention in Russia," the campaign said.
Griner's charge can result in up to 10 years in prison in Russia. Her pre-trial detention has already been extended twice — once in March, and once in May, when her detention was extended by a month.
In May, the state department determined Griner was being wrongfully detained and said it would "continue to undertake efforts to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner."
Griner's lawyer, Alexander Boikov, told The Associated Press in May that he believed the shorter extension of the detention indicated the case could soon reach trial.
Former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson is assisting Griner's family to help secure her return, CBS News learned in May.
CBS News has reached out to Uninterrupted and the We Are BG campaign for more information.
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