(Source: www.rollingout.com) – By Terry Shropshire | May 22, 2022 – WNBA superstar Brittney Griner could be freed soon from indefinite confinement in Russian jail as the Biden Administration intensifies negotiation efforts.
Biden is reportedly working on a diplomatic solution with Russian officials, according to Forbes. The magazine stated that Biden may be willing to exchange Griner for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence for selling weapons to a Columbian terrorist group. Bout began serving out his sentence in 2011.
A possible Griner-Bout trade was reported by Tass, Russia’s state-owned news agency, and the Moscow-based news outlet, Gazeta.Ru.
“Currently, talks are underway on exchanging Bout for Griner,” Tass reported according to Forbes, citing “a source in the Public Monitoring Commission.”
Neither the U.S. State Department nor Bout’s attorneys have responded to media inquiries looking to confirm the negotiation efforts.
Griner was arrested at the airport in Moscow and has been detained since February 2022 after a police canine detected her vaping cartridges that reportedly contained traces of cannabis oil, which are illegal in Russia. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted in a Russian court.
The WNBA champion and former Defensive Player of the Year with the Phoenix Mercury, who is also one of the league’s most popular players, was traveling to Russia to play for one of its female basketball teams.
Women in professional basketball often play overseas as the maximum base salary in the WNBA is $228,094, compared to the tens of millions that men can earn annually in the NBA. Griner and scores of WNBA players are often compelled to play for foreign teams to supplement their income. Griner has played several years for the team in Ekaterinburg, Russia, where she earns over a million dollars per season.