During her nearly 10-month detainment in Russia, Brittney Griner says she never lost hope, thanks to her supporters. Now, she wants the support to be directed to other Americans who are wrongfully detained.
In a heartfelt letter, the Phoenix Mercury star expressed her appreciation for the people who helped her get through such a hard time through their uplifting letters. She posted the handwritten acknowledgment on Instagram for her 671,000 followers.
“Thanks to the efforts of many, including you, I am home after nearly 10 months. You took time to show me you cared and I want to personally take the time to write you and say that your effort mattered,” Griner’s letter began.
“Your letters helped me to not lose hope during a time where I was full of regret and vulnerable in ways I could have never imagined. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because of you I never lost hope.”
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Griner’s release, by way of a prisoner swap earlier this month, came just in time for her to spend the holiday season with her wife, Cherelle Griner, and her family. As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, the two-time Olympian’s homecoming has already included a barbecue “feast” ordered by her dad, Ray, beverages courtesy of Dr. Pepper, and a haircut courtesy of the San Antonio Spurs’ barber.
Griner’s letter noted that not everyone will have the same luxury. She asked her followers to offer advocacy to Paul Whelan, a Michigan corporate security executive currently serving 16 years on espionage charges.
“My family’s whole now, thanks to you. We are fortunate to get to spend the holidays together. However, there remain too many families with loved ones wrongfully detained,” she wrote.
She continued: “I hope you’ll join me in writing to Paul Whelan and continuing to advocate for other Americans to be rescued and returned to their families.”
Griner’s request is her second grateful message posted to Instagram since her return to the United States on Dec. 9. She wanted to thank her wife, WNBA family, the Bring Our Families Home Campaign and President Biden, and others.