Austin NAACP questions why little information was released on Texas native Brittney Griner’s arrest

Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder is questioning why little information has been released on WNBA player and Texas native Brittney Griner’s arrest in Russia. He is calling for intensified pressure on state and national representatives. 

"Clearly, race plays a factor here," Linder said. "Russia has a deplorable history of treating minorities." 

Griner's arrest made few headlines until Russia issued a press release on March 5 stating a "two-time Olympic champion" was detained at the Sheremetyevo Airport. It is one of four international airports serving the City of Moscow. 

According to the Federal Customs Service of Russia, the unnamed athlete was detained "in February."

"We don't know her safety. We all know her current condition. That in itself is an insult," Linder said. 

The release alleges the unnamed athlete’s luggage contained vapes with cannabis oil, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

Tuesday, Russian State media released an undated booking photo of Griner. 

"I think [Griner] is already a political pawn. The question is, what power do we have over Russia?" he said. 

Griner is a Phoenix Mercury center. She is a seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. 

Like many WNBA athletes she plays abroad during the off-season. She played for UMMC Ekaterinburg at the time of her arrest. This weekend, the WNBA confirmed its athletes in Ukraine and Russia had left. 

Congressman Colin Allread (D-Dallas) told FOX he is working with the U.S. State Department to bring the basketball star home. 

Allread said he is partnering with the Biden administration in an effort to access Griner, noting it is unusual access to her has not been granted through the U.S. Embassy in Russia. 

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat based in Griner’s hometown of Houston addressed the Russian government directly, "Please allow Ms.Griner to safely leave, allow her legal representation to handle her matters."

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