Basketball legend Lisa Leslie told the “I am Athlete” podcast that she was told not to make a “big fuss” over Brittney Griner’s arrest by Russian authorities.
“What we were told, and again, this is all sort of passed along through hearsay, but what we were told was to not make a big fuss about it so that they could not use her as a pawn, so to speak, in this situation in the war,” Leslie said.
“So, to make it like it’s not that important, or don’t make it like ‘Free Brittney’ and we start this campaign, and then it becomes they could use,” she continued. “That’s what we were ‘told’ and I don’t want to say who said that, but it’s what’s been spreading throughout the women’s basketball world.”
“Do we know if that’s the right thing to do or not?” Leslie asked. “It’s heartbreaking for all of us. That’s the feelings of it. You want to do more, and think, should we all use our social media platform and get behind it or not? Nobody really [knows]. This is the first time we’re in this situation, and we don’t know what to do.”
Earlier this month, Griner was detained by the Russian Federal Customs Service after they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow.
Griner is said to be sharing a cell with two inmates who have also been charged with “drug-related articles,” per Ekaterina Kalugina, a member of Public Monitoring Commission. The Phoenix Mercury star’s request to be released on house arrest was denied following a hearing in Moscow on March 17, TMZ reported.
Sources have told the outlet that Griner, who has been visited by her legal team, is doing “OK” but wants to get back home.
Russian state TV released a photo of Brittney Griner after her February arrest for allegedly having cannabis oil in her luggage.
Griner could face up to 10 years in prison. Her exact location is currently unknown.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 8, 2022