Russian Basketball Official, Teammate Vouch for Griner in Russian Court

WNBA player Brittney Griner was back in a Russian court Thursday, a week after she pleaded guilty to drug charges.

Despite the session being closed to reporters, lawyers for Griner said the head of the Russian basketball club for which she plays, UMMC Yekaterinburg, vouched for her good character.

Club boss Maxim Ryabkov reportedly told the court about Griner’s “outstanding abilities as a player and personal contribution to strengthening team spirit.”

Team captain Yevgenya Belyakova also reportedly praised Griner during the proceedings.

Griner has been playing in Russia during WNBA offseasons since 2014. She is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Griner was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February. Police said they found cannabis oil in her luggage. Griner said she didn’t mean to bring the oil with her.

Griner could face 10 years in prison and reportedly will be back in court on Friday.

Some have speculated that Moscow will eventually try to trade Griner for a Russian citizen jailed in the United States. Russian officials have called such speculation “hype.”

Some information in this report came from Reuters and The Associated Press.

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