Detained Griner to be honored at all venues: WNBA

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US basketball star Brittney Griner will be honored at WNBA venues to mark her detention in Russia (AFP/Christian Petersen) (Christian Petersen)
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Detained US women's basketball star Brittney Griner will be honored at all WNBA venues when the new season gets under way later this week, the league said Tuesday.

Griner has been in custody in Russia since being stopped at Moscow's airport on February 17 after vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage.

The United States government said Tuesday that Griner's detention was unwarranted, describing her as a "wrongfully detained US citizen". Washington had previously stopped short of commenting on the nature of her detention.

The WNBA said in a statement on Tuesday that all 12 venues across the league would feature Griner's initials and jersey number (42) emblazoned on the sidelines when the new season tips off on Friday.

"As we begin the 2022 season, we are keeping Brittney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community," WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said.

"We continue to work on bringing Brittney home and are appreciative of the support the community has shown BG and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time."

US basketball officials had previously taken a discreet approach to Griner's detention, preferring to allow behind-the-scenes diplomacy to play out.

Griner's wife Cherelle Griner had also called for supporters to "honor our privacy as we continue to work on getting my wife home safely".

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion, is regarded as one of the best women basketball players in the world.

She had been in Russia to play club basketball before the WNBA season resumed on May 6.

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