‘Very Pissed’: Brittney Griner’s Wife Goes Off On US Government

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The wife of basketball player Brittney Griner said the imprisoned star tried calling her via the U.S. Embassy in Russia nearly a dozen times Saturday, but the U.S. government never connected the call.

Saturday marked the fourth anniversary of Cherelle Griner and Brittney Griner, a basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury. The couple has not spoken since Griner was arrested in Russia on cannabis charges roughly four months prior, according to The Associated Press. The couple were scheduled to speak over the weekend, but the U.S. Embassy in Russia was not staffed, so the call was not answered, according to Griner, who spoke to the AP.

Cherelle suspected that Russian authorities had ensured the call never went through despite them having previously approved the call. Cherelle said Monday she learned that Brittney had tried calling her 11 times over the course of several hours, AP continued. The call was supposed to be wired from Brittney to Cherelle via the embassy, but the desk where the phone rang was unstaffed Saturday, according to Cherelle.

“I was distraught. I was hurt. I was done, fed up,” Cherelle told the AP. “I’m pretty sure I texted BG’s agent and was like: ‘I don’t want to talk to anybody. It’s going to take me a minute to get my emotions together, and just tell everybody I’m unavailable right now.’ Because it just knocked me out. I wasn’t well, I’m still not well.”

The call was scheduled two weeks prior, but no one told her that the call might not be possible due to the weekend staffing logistics, Cherelle told the outlet. The State Department said Monday that “we deeply regret that Brittney Griner was unable to speak with her wife because of a logistical error,” according to the AP.

Cherelle said she was “very pissed” and that she found it “unacceptable.”

“I have zero trust in our government right now. If I can’t trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife’s behalf to come home? Because that’s a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call.”

Brittney was reportedly given a phone number frequently used by prisoners to call the U.S., but that number is only available Monday through Friday, the outlet noted. A contact at the U.S. government reached out to Cherelle and apologized for the error, she told the AP. (RELATED: Putin Might Threaten Nukes, Chemical Attacks And More, US Says)

The WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested in Moscow, Russia, in February and is being investigated on drug trafficking charges after airport officials discovered cannabis oil in her possession. Brittney has pleaded “not guilty” to the charges and will reportedly remain in Russia until at least July 2, according to another AP report.