Cherelle Griner said Brittney Griner’s nine-year prison sentence in Russia “terrifies” her, adding the whole situation is “like a movie.”
Brittney Griner was sentenced in August in a Moscow court for drug possession. Russian authorities said the US basketball star, who played in Russia in the offseason, had vape canisters with cannabis oil inside her luggage when she was traveling through Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February.
“It’s like a movie for me,” Cherelle said on “CBS Mornings” in her first interview since her wife’s sentencing. “I’m like, ‘In no world did I ever thought, you know, our president and a foreign nation president would be sitting down having to discuss the freedom of my wife.’ And so to me, as much as everybody’s telling me a different definition of what B.G. [Brittney] is, it feels to me as if she’s a hostage.”
She continued, “It terrifies me because, I mean, when you watch movies, like, sometimes those situations don’t end well. Sometimes they never get the person back.”
Griner’s appeal, which the US has called “another sham judicial proceeding,” has been scheduled for Oct. 25.
She admitted in court that she had the canisters in her luggage, but testified that she had inadvertently packed them in haste and that she had no criminal intent. Her defense team presented written statements that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain.
Cherelle said if the order is finalized after her appeal she could be moved to a labor camp in Russia.
“My brain can’t even fathom it,” she said. “Obviously, it’s not for sure, but me and B.G. have to operate on a position where we like have to prepare for the worst.”
Following her sentencing, President Biden said in a statement he was calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release her immediately, adding that his administration “will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
“I mean, this is my life and so I’m sitting there like, ‘Do we get her back? Do I ever get to see my wife again?’” Cherelle said. “Like, what happens here? The fact that everything’s so unprecedented and everything’s, like, changeable I think is a really good word. Like, I feel like every day I’m hearing something new, and so it’s just kind of like, it’s terrifying.”
The full interview airs Thursday.
Griner is an eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.