With Brittney Griner’s Release, Anxiety Turns to Relief

At a home just outside Houston listed as Griner’s old address, a basketball hoop sits on the lawn in the backyard, visible from a quiet cul-de-sac and neatly maintained. A sign on the front door hints at the long, arduous, and public hardships her family faces: “No media. No Trespassing. Just pray. Thank.”

Ernest Alfaro, who lives two houses away, said he and his family were praying for Griner and her father, Ray, who he said still lives in the house. In a statement, members of the Griner family thanked President Biden and his administration, and asked for privacy “as we embark on this path of healing.”

Alfaro, a pastor at a local church, said from the moment Griner disappeared in Russia’s prison system, “We started to pray for her family.”

Ms. Turner, Ms. Griner’s teammate, said she corresponded with Ms. Griner during her detention but had not heard from her since mid-October, when she was transferred to the detention center.

“At first I felt rejected, then I was confused, then I thought, ‘How can this happen?’” Ms. Turner said. “There are millions of people living in the US and I happen to know one of the few people being detained in Russia. Even today feels surreal.

Vince Kozar, president of Mercury, also corresponded with Mrs. Griner. Mr. Kozar said Mercury tried to make her plight public during her detention as a way of reminding the Biden administration how many people wanted her home.

So does Chris Mosier, a transgender breakthrough endurance athlete who has competed internationally for the United States.


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