American WNBA star Brittney Griner was found guilty of drug trafficking in Russia and sentenced to nine years in prison last week, but that’s just the beginning of the ordeal that many hope ends with her coming home to the United States.

Monday, Griner and her legal team filed an appeal of that sentence after Russia confirmed that negotiations over a potential prisoner swap between the United States and Russia were underway. The plan would swap Griner and another American prisoner for Russian prisoners currently in American prisons.

While not everyone in America seems sympathetic to Griner’s situation, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department confirmed on Monday that the outcome of the trial does not change their feeling about Griner and the importance of getting her out of Russia.

“No element of this trial changes our judgment that Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained and should be released immediately,” said State Dept spokesperson Ned Price, via ESPN’s T.J. Quinn. “We are in communication with the Russians on this matter and we encourage them to pursue this constructively.”

Quinn added that Price would not go into detail about the ongoing discussions, though it is presumed that arms dealer Viktor Bout is someone of interest for Russia to get in return.

Experts have long said that Griner’s arrest and trial have been political theater meant to entice the United States into some kind of exchange or deal.

[T.J. Quinn]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.