Brittney Griner logo on WNBA court

The 2022 WNBA Finals tipped off on Sunday night, with the Las Vegas Aces taking a 1-o series lead on the Connecticut Sun. Beforehand, the league’s commissioner shared some strong comments about WNBA star Brittney Griner’s ongoing detainment in Russia over drug charges.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told reporters that Griner’s wrongful detainment in Russia is “unacceptable” and shared that she recently received a letter from the basketball star, who is currently waiting for news that the State Department can get her home via a prisoner swap.

“I recently received a handwritten letter from BG, and I am so inspired by her courage in the face of enormous adversity,” Engelbert said. “We are fully focused on getting her home safely, and she remains such an important part of the WNBA family.”

While she didn’t share the full contents of the letter, she did say that Griner ended it by saying “I’m staying strong.”

“I was thrilled. It was heartfelt. She was very grateful. She knows the efforts that I personally and the league are doing to try to help get her home safely and as soon as possible,” Engelbert said. “She ended with it, ‘I’m staying strong.’ I have chills right now just saying that, she ended it with, ‘You should know I’m saying strong, and thank you.’ It was short and handwritten and really inspiring to me given how adverse her situation is.”

Engelbert called on the Russian government to work harder in their negotiations with the U.S. to release Griner.

“It’s a full-court press with the State Department. We have been working with them. I can’t ask more from this administration on working on this very complex situation to get her home,” Engelbert said. “ … We need the Russians to step up here and get the deal that the president put on the table and get that deal done and get her home safely.”

Hopefully, there will be news related to Griner’s potential release from prison and return to the United States soon.

[Yahoo! Sports]

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