House Passes Bipartisan Resolution Pushing for Russia to Release WNBA Player Brittney Griner

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PHOENIX, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 06: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during the first half in Game Four of the 2021 WNBA semifinals at Footprint Center on October 06, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 06: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during the first half in Game Four of the 2021 WNBA semifinals at Footprint Center on October 06, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Christian Petersen/Getty

Efforts to bring WNBA Player Brittney Griner home continue with the latest progress involving the government officials.

On Saturday, the Phoenix Mercury released a statement via Twitter to announce the House of Representatives had passed Congressman Greg Stanton's bipartisan resolution to push for her release after being detained in Russia earlier this year.

"Stanton and many others are continuing to work with the White House, State Department and Brittney's family to secure her safe return," the team tweeted.

In a statement, Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, expressed her gratitude "for this overwhelming show of support from Congress."

"We need to be doing all we can to keep Brittney's case on the forefront and finally put an end to this nightmare," she added.

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"Not a day goes by that we aren't thinking of Brittney and working to get her home," Rep. Stanton said in a statement. "We will continue to push for her release and make sure that she is not forgotten."

In February, Griner, 31, was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow after officials allegedly found vape cartridges containing hash oil, an illegal substance in Russia, in her luggage.

The U.S. State Department later officially classified Griner as wrongfully detained by the Russian Federation.

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According to the Associated Press, Griner's case is now being handled by the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, which focuses on hostage release and freeing Americans it determines have been wrongfully detained.

"This resolution sends a clear message: securing Brittney's release must be the highest priority of the U.S. Government, and we know the American people support every effort made to bring her home," Terri Carmichael Jackson, executive director of the WNBA added in a statement on Saturday.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 08: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury kisses her wife Cherelle Griner in the stands after the Mercury defeated the Las Vegas Aces 87-84 in Game Five of the 2021 WNBA Playoffs semifinals to win the series at Michelob ULTRA Arena on October 8, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 08: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury kisses her wife Cherelle Griner in the stands after the Mercury defeated the Las Vegas Aces 87-84 in Game Five of the 2021 WNBA Playoffs semifinals to win the series at Michelob ULTRA Arena on October 8, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Ethan Miller/Getty

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Earlier this month, Russian state media agency TASS reported that a court has ruled to keep the 31-year-old American basketball player in custody through at least July 2.

On Wednesday, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced that Griner had been named an honorary starter for the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

"During each season of Brittney's career in which there has been an All-Star Game, she has been selected as an All-Star," Engelbert said in a statement.

"It is not difficult to imagine that if BG were here with us this season, she would once again be selected and would, no doubt, show off her incredible talents," she added. "So, it is only fitting that she be named as an honorary starter today and we continue to work on her safe return to the U.S."

The organization said Griner has appeared in seven other WNBA All-Star Games throughout her career.

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