Russian state media have released a photograph of WNBA star Brittney Griner in custody, the first since she was detained at the airport in Moscow last month on suspicion of carrying a cannabis-filled vape pen.
Griner, 31, was taken into custody at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport after returning to Russia from New York during a two-week break from play at the end of February. The exact date of her arrest is unclear and it remains unknown where she is now.
The Wall Street Journal reports that she was scheduled to play on February 20, and that a flight arrived at the airport on February 17 which she may have been on.
She had been playing for the Moscow team UMMC Ekaterinburg and was earning $1.5million for the off-season – six times her WNBA salary with the Phoenix Mercury.
UMMC Ekaterinburg is backed by Andrei Kozitsyn, a mineral tycoon listed among Putin’s richest associates.
Griner is not the only American female athlete who frequently traveled to Russia to bolster her earnings, but she is now the only one left in the country.
Her American teammates at UMMC Ekaterinburg include Allie Quigley, who returned to the US as tensions between the US and the Kremlin worsened last month.
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Source: Daily Mail