Brittney Griner Aug 5, 2022; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; A sign supporting Brittney Griner (not pictured), who has recently been sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia, is displayed during the first half of the game between the Washington Spirit and Racing Louisville FC at Lynn Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: EM Dash-USA TODAY Sports

While WNBA star Brittney Griner remains in a Russian prison awaiting a potential deal that could see her released, it was hoped that she might have the opportunity to play the sport that brought her to the country in the first place. However, according to ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn, it’s not an opportunity that Griner wants right now because it would be too “painful.”

Quinn tweeted Wednesday that he “asked Griner’s lawyer if she’s had an opportunity to play basketball since she was detained.” The response, sadly, is that while the jail does have a basketball hoop, there is no ball. Griner’s lawyers offered to bring one into the prison but she declined, “saying it was too painful to think about.”

It’s a sobering reminder of what it must be like to be locked away in a foreign country over dubious reasons and know that you’re staring down such a long sentence.

That said, Griner’s situation might change next week as she has an appeal meeting scheduled for Tuesday. Per Quinn, while experts have said there is “no chance” her conviction will be overturned, it’s possible that the three-judge panel could reduce her nine-year sentence for smuggling cannabis oil into Russia.

Per Quinn, Griner will attend via videoconference and will have the chance to address the judges.

While many have criticized President Joe Biden over not moving faster to get Griner released, as noted by Quinn, it’s almost certain that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is delaying negotiations so as to not give Biden any kind of positive outcome before the November 8 midterms.

[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