"Terrified" Brittney Griner Pens Open Letter to President Joe Biden From Russian Prison

WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been imprisoned in Russia since February, wrote a letter to President Joe Biden. Read why the athlete is "terrified I might be here forever."

By Kelly Gilmore Jul 04, 2022 9:52 PMTags
Watch: Brittney Griner's Wife Speaks Out After Arrest

Brittney Griner is sending a message to President Joe Biden.

The WNBA player, who was arrested Feb. 17 on suspicion of drug smuggling in Russia, reached out to the president by sending a handwritten letter to The White House.

In her message, which was obtained by E! News from the athlete's publicist, Brittney detailed the thoughts that cross her mind as she sits behind bars, writing, "…as I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I'm terrified I might be here forever."

Her letter arrived to The White House on July 4, but the day holds significance for her in more ways than one.

"On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran," the letter read. "It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year."

How Lady Gaga, Andrew Garfield & More Stars Show Support for Ukraine at 2022 SAG Awards Red Carpet

While the 31-year-old noted that they realize Biden is "dealing with so much," she asked that the president "please don't forget about me and the other American Detainees."

"Please do all you can to bring us home," she wrote. "I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore."

Brittney also highlighted the people in her life she is thinking of as she is held in custody—including her spouse of three years, Cherelle Griner.

"I miss my wife!" she wrote. "I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home." 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Five months ago, Brittney was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for allegedly having vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. The basketball star, who plays for both the Phoenix Mercury and for a Russian basketball team during the WBNA's off-season, appeared in court for the first hearing of her trial July 2.

At the time, Brittney did not enter a plea. However, if convicted guilty, she faces up to 10 years in prison.

Since she was detained, the WNBA has paid tribute to Brittney by placing floor decals that have her initials and jersey number inside the venues of all 12 WNBA teams.

Reflecting on the impact of the WNBA's support, Cherelle noted in a May 25 appearance on Good Morning America, "Things like that matter, like, it has her hopeful."

"It lets her know she's not forgotten," Cherelle said. "Those small moments, I know, give her some type of hope."

The next session for Brittney's court hearing is scheduled for July 7.

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App