Brittney Griner Tearfully Recounts Her Harrowing Detainment In Russia In Upcoming Talk With Robin Roberts

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Brittney Griner felt “less than human” during her 10-month detainment in Russia.

In an interview with ABC News’s Robin Roberts for an upcoming 20/20 special scheduled to air May 1, the WNBA star recounted her harrowing experience in Russia and its prisons. Griner was arrested Feb. 17, 2022 at a Moscow airport for carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. Subsequently, the two-time Olympic gold medalist received a nine-year prison sentence on drug smuggling and possession charges.

The 33-year-old baller opened up about some shocking moments she witnessed during her time detainment in Russia, including walking into a room and finding, “…a huge knife sitting …” there ominously. The Phoenix Mercury player grew emotional in a way we haven’t seen her when she tells Roberts’ that, “You got to do what you got to do to survive.”

After a pause, she added, “[But my] …mattress had a huge blood stain on it. I had no soap, no toilet paper…I felt less than human.”

She tearfully added, “I was just so scared about everything. There was so much unknown.”


Griner’s First Thought: My Life is Over

The Houston Texan also recounted the moment when Russian airport officials found vape cartridges in her luggage while she was passing through the Moscow airport en route to reunite with her team, UMMC Ekaterinburg. Officials accused the baller of carrying less than a gram of cannabis oil inside her vape cartridges, and she was arrested on the spot.

During her intense, wrenching sit-down with Roberts, Griner said her heart dropped when she “felt” one of the cartridges in her luggage.

“My life is over right here,” the WNBA player recalled when asked to describe her intense encounter with Russian airport staff.

Thankfully, in December 2022, the WNBA All-Star finally made her much-anticipated journey home following a trade agreement between the U.S. and Russian authorities. Griner’s release came in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. While she fervently prayed for her return to American soil, the 6-foot-9 athlete disclosed moments of despair during her ordeal.

“I didn’t think I could get through what I needed to get through,” the athlete told Roberts, struggling through tears.


Griner’s new memoir will hit bookshelves in May

Griner’s 20/20 special with Roberts will air a few days before the release of her forthcoming memoir.

The WNBA star will delve into her “unfathomable” ordeal in Russian detainment extensively in her upcoming memoir titled Coming Home, slated for release on May 7, as reported by People.

“The primary reason I traveled back to Russia for work that day was because I wanted to make my wife, family, and teammates proud. After an incredibly challenging 10 months in detainment, I am grateful to have been rescued and to be home. Readers will hear my story and understand why I’m so thankful for the outpouring of support from people across the world,” Griner shared in a statement in April 2023, NewsOne noted.

To pay it forward, the basketball star also intends to champion the release of fellow Americans detained abroad and aims for her book to shed light on their narratives, raising awareness about their plight.

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