WNBA commissioner on Brittney Griner’s release: We’ll give her space and time

Cathy Engelbert spoke about the Phoenix Mercury star’s release from a Russian penal colony on Thursday and her potential return to the basketball court.

Video Transcript


CATHY ENGELBERT: I'm grateful to the administration, the State Department. You know, we've known negotiations were intensifying and a solution was in sight. And I was personally emotional at today's events because you never know until the end. These are geopolitically complex times in the moment. And so I'm overjoyed that BG will be reunited with her parents. Her mom and dad, as a mom myself, I can't imagine the anguish they have been going through. And obviously, you saw Cherelle at the White House this morning as events unfolded. And let's not forget, BG's fellow WNBA players too. They advocated every day for her, and the whole women's basketball ecosystem.

And so yeah, so we're obviously going to respect the privacy of this very critical time in her coming back home. And obviously, I'd love to call her. I'd love to see her. We're going to give her the appropriate space and time for that, and then follow what Brittney and her family want to do about reengaging with the WNBA and our players. So I know our players are very anxious to reunite with Brittney as well.

So we'll follow the players' lead. We're a player-first league, and what they want to do is what we'll try to broker. But let's give Brittney some space and her family. It's been a long ordeal, horrible ordeal, and really look forward to her return and hearing her voice. And I always call her this gentle giant. Really look forward to reuniting myself with her.