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WNBA star Brittney Griner has been “wrongfully detained” in Russia for more than three months after Russian Federal Customs Service found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow.

Griner’s detainment has sparked a broader national conversation beyond the WNBA about bringing the seven-time All-Star back to the United States. However, Griner’s pretrial detention was extended by one month on Friday, further keeping her under Russian officials.

Authorities have reportedly denied consular access to Griner from U.S. Embassy officials three times this month, according to the U.S. Embassy Moscow’s official Twitter account.

While her detention has been extended, Griner has received tons of outpouring support from the WNBA community and college coaches like South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, who coached Griner on Team USA during the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“#FreeBrittneyGriner 90 days and counting since BG has been wrongfully detained (according to US STATE DEPT) in a Russia prison,” Staley tweeted on Wednesday. “We all need to join forces to bring her home to her family. No other commentary is needed just support as if it was one of your loved ones. 🙏🏾 #WeAreBG.”

But Staley’s support for Griner goes beyond her recent and weekly tweets. After Griner’s detention was extended for another 30 days and being denied a request for house arrest, Staley issued a network challenge for all major media platforms to create a “space on air” or “ticker” each day to aid in Griner’s return to the United States.

When Griner’s wife, Cherelle, graduated from North Carolina Central University’s School of Law on May 7, Staley posted a picture of the graduation program in her Instagram story. Staley was not able to attend Cherelle’s graduation but a “mutual friend” between the two attended due to Staley’s prior obligation to attend her team’s graduation. 

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“I’m just stressing how important it is for us to get Brittney home so she doesn’t miss anymore family milestones. #WeAreBG,” Staley tweeted.

While many WNBA players, athletes and coaches had been hesitant in speaking out on Griner’s detention to avoid hurting her case, Staley along with others have taken an alternative approach to shed light on Griner’s detainment.

Each WNBA team placed a “BG” decal on its home court this season to provide awareness to Griner’s cause. The Suns placed Griner’s initials and her No. 42 to honor her during their recent run in the playoffs. 

Most recently, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the league’s role in assisting the WNBA to bring Griner home. However, Silver stated ahead of the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday that the NBA refrained from making a public statement on Griner's case on the “suggestion of experts in and out of the government who thought the best path to getting Brittney out was not to amplify the issue.”

But, the commissioner also said the public has an “enormous role” to play in the case and that the league is working with the WNBA, “White House, state department and every level of government” to ensure Griner returns from Russia. 

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