Cherelle Griner, wife of detained basketball star, meets with Biden September 20, 2022 By Griffin Coop Cherelle Griner, a Little Rock native and the wife of imprisoned basketball star Brittney Griner, met Friday with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office where Biden assured her he is working to win her wife’s release from Russia. Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since February, when she was arrested for possessing a vape cartridge containing hashish oil. The basketball star was convicted of drug possession and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Cherelle Griner has only communicated with her wife through letters. A planned phone call in June did not occur as expected because of logistical problems. Cherelle Griner expressed frustration at the time with the United States’ efforts to secure her wife’s release. Cherelle Griner released the following statement through Brittney Griner’s public relations firm after the meeting with Biden: “I want to thank President Biden for today’s meeting. It was an honor to speak with him directly about the Brittney we know and love, and to thank him for the Administration’s efforts to secure her release. I’ve felt every minute of the grueling seven months without her. I look forward to the day my wife is back home. As my family and I continue on this journey, I’d like to thank the broad coalition of friends, leaders and supporters who continue to stand with us and advocate for Brittney’s swift and safe return. Let’s share a unified commitment to bringing all Americans home to their families and loved ones. Together We Are BG.” Brittney Griner could be released through a prisoner swap, possibly including fellow American Paul Whelen, who was sentenced in 2016 to 16 years for espionage. Whelan’s family also met with Biden last week. Griner’s arrest came shortly before Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine and Griner’s agent called the basketball player a “political pawn” when she was sentenced to nine years in prison.