Brittney Griner's wife Cherelle believes that President Joe Biden is the only person who can get her back from Russia, where she's being wrongfully detained.

Cherelle Griner had long been quiet about her wife's plight. The basketball player has been detained in Russia since she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February. Cherelle sat down with ABC News for an interview that aired on Wednesday.


"I just keep hearing that, you know, he has the power. She's a political pawn," she said of Biden. "So if they're holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it."

The wife of the WNBA superstar has spoken with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, but she hasn't heard from the commander in chief.

"I was grateful for the call. You say she's top priority, but I wanna see it, and I feel like to see it would be me seeing BG on U.S. soil," Cherelle said. "At this point, I don't even know who I'm getting back when she comes back."

Griner was arrested on Feb. 17 at a Moscow airport while entering the country, and she was accused of illegally bringing vape cartridges containing hashish oil. She plays professional basketball in Russia during the WNBA offseason, like many others, and has been playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg for the past six seasons. The basketball star has not been charged yet.

"I first heard the news through Brittney, actually. She started texting me around 2:00 a.m. that morning," Cherelle said. "'Babe. Babe. Babe. Wake up. They have me in this room. I don't know what's going on,' and so I instantly text back, 'Who are they and what room?'"

Cherelle said Griner responded, "The customs people. They just grabbed me when I was going through, and they have me in this room." Then, Griner told her wife, "They're about to take my phone."

The two can communicate through letters and her lawyer, but they have not been able to speak with one another.


The U.S. State Department announced earlier this month that it considers Griner to be "wrongfully detained." The designation means her situation is being handled by the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, which leads the government's efforts to get Americans wrongfully detained abroad released.

Trevor Reed, a former Marine, had been detained for nearly three years in Russia before the two countries agreed to a prisoner exchange weeks ago, while Paul Whelan, another former Marine, is currently being detained in Russia.

"Even though they're separate people, separate roles, no connection besides what they're going through in Russia, you know, I obviously want him back, too," Cherelle said of Whelan. "You don't want anybody to be there, going through what they're going through."