REVEALED: Megan Rapinoe ‘told Joe Biden to do MORE to free Brittney Griner’ when he called her with the news he was to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
- Brittney Griner, 31, has been a prisoner in Russia since February 7.
- Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison for being convicted of drug possession after bringing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into the country.
- The US and Russia are in ‘silent diplomacy’ talks over a prisoner swap
US soccer star Megan Rapinoe urged President Joe Biden in a phone call last month to do more to secure the release of Brittney Griner from Russian detention.
According to Politico, Rapinoe made the request when Biden called her to inform her that she would be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed on a civilian in the United States.
When Rapinoe attended the White House ceremony on July 7, he was wearing a blazer with Griner’s initials inscribed on the lapel.
Griner, 31, was sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia in early August after being convicted of drug possession and smuggling.
Griner brought cannabis oil vape cartridges to Russia when he flew to Moscow to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason.
Biden denounced the ruling as “unacceptable,” and the verdict came amid rising tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine. There have been numerous reports that Griner could now be involved in a high-profile prisoner swap between the two countries.
Megan Rapinoe reportedly told President Biden to do more to free Brittney Griner
Griner has been detained in Russia since February and was recently sentenced to nine years in prison after bringing vape cartridges into the country that contained cannabis oil.
But Rapinoe, 37, used the opportunity to tell Biden to secure Griner’s release as quickly as possible.
Politico says Biden called Griner’s wife, Cherelle, in the days after speaking with Rapinoe.
Rapinoe also called on Biden to step up efforts to free Griner in a speech at the ESPYs in July.
“We love her, we miss her, we’re doing everything we can to get her out,” Rapinoe said. BG deserves to be free, she is being held as a political prisoner, obviously.
“Every time we see BG’s face, every time we say his name in interviews, it puts pressure on everyone. puts pressure on the administration, on Russia and lets BG know that we are thinking about her all the time.
‘We haven’t done enough, all of us, we can do more, we can support her more.’
Cherelle Griner has previously expressed her frustration with the way the Biden administration is dealing with the Griner situation.
Biden reportedly contacted Griner’s longtime Cherelle shortly after speaking with Rapinoe.
Griner appears to be part of the discussions about a prisoner swap with Russia and the US.
Speaking in June, he said: “I wish I could say that I have a clear understanding (of the White House strategy to free her). They talk in code with me a lot.
Since then, reports have emerged about the possible prisoner swap with Griner and Paul Whelan, a former US Marine who is being held in Russia.
Griner has been in custody since February 17. Earlier this week, her legal team in Russia appealed her conviction.
On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it was engaged in “quiet diplomacy” over the possible swap involving Griner.
“Calm diplomacy is underway and should bear fruit if Washington follows it, and not indulge in propaganda through media hype to score points before an election,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechayev said. of Russia, referring to the mid-term elections in November.
Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a star player in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – she plays for the Phoenix Mercury.