Brittney Griner Breaks Silence After Returning Home From Russia

Brittney Griner returns to U.S. (Credit: US Army South/Miguel Negron)

WNBA star Brittney Griner has spoken out for the first time since she was released from a prison camp in Russia, saying she relied on faith and encouragement from supporters to survive the ordeal.

“It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn,” Griner said in a statement posted on Instagram Friday. “I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.”

She thanked her wife Cherelle, the Biden administration, the WNBA and others for their efforts to help secure her release.

“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too,” she said. “I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.”

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The two-time Olympic champion also praised the staff and medical team at the San Antonio, Texas military base where she was taken for a medical evaluation after touching down in the U.S. She then announced her plans to return to the WNBA.

“I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon,” she continued.

Griner, 32, was released in a prisoner exchange for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout on Dec. 8.

Read her full statement below.