With the return of the Women's National Basketball Association season approaching, the absence of one player is gaining attention. Phoenix Mercury player Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for several months now on alleged drug charges.
Here’s what you need to know.
WNBA player Brittney Griner detained in Russia
The status of Ms Griner has not yet been confirmed, with few details made public by the White House or those close to her. The American state department has stated that giving out information publicly can impact the government’s ability to bring US citizens home when detained abroad.
The WNBA and Phoenix Mercury have both stated that they are working with the state department to bring Ms Griner home.
The basketball player has been detained in Russia since February. She is believed to be held on drug charges, after airport customs in Russia allegedly found cannabis oil in her luggage. If convicted, she could face up to ten years in prison.
In March, a court in Moscow announced that Ms Griner’s detention would be extended until May 19th.
Who is Brittney Griner?
Widely agreed to be the best female basketball player of all time, Ms Griner is one of a small number to have won a college championship, WNBA and EuroLeague titles and an Olympic gold medal.
As is common for female basketball players, she has played for a Russian team during the WNBA off-season since 2015. Roughly half of all WNBA players compete overseas during the off-season.