Brittney Griner offered a glimpse of her personal history while being tested in a Russian court on Thursday in a case in which she faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Her legal team filed an appeal for leniency in the case, arguing that she contributed to Russian society and that she had no intention of breaking the law.
“I grew up in a normal home, a normal family in Houston, Texas with my brothers, my mother and my father,” Ms. Griner, 31, told the court. “My parents taught me two important things: one, take responsibility for your responsibilities and two, work hard for whatever you get. That’s why I pleaded guilty to my charges.”
“I understand everything that was said against me in the allegations against me, but I had no intention of breaking Russian law,” added Ms. Griner, who was detained in mid-February at a Moscow airport on her way to. Ekaterinburg. a Russian city near the Urals where she had played for a local team during the WNBA off-season.
Customs officials found two vaporizer cartridges containing less than an ounce of hash oil in their luggage.
“I want the camp to understand that it was an honest mistake I made while running and under stress trying to recover from Covid and just trying to get back to my team,” he said on Thursday at the camp.
Ms. Griner also talked about her time playing for UMMC Yekaterinburg.
“That hard work that my parents instilled in me is what led me to play for the best Russian team,” he said. “I had no idea that the team, the city, the fans and my teammates would make a big impression on me in the six and a half years I spent in Ekaterinburg. It became my second home with my friends, my teammates and my fans that I would always interact with. “
The basketball star apologized to his teammates from the Russian team and the city of Yekaterinburg, his family and fellow WNBA players, including his Arizona team, the Phoenix Mercury.
Turning to the judge in the case, Anna S. Sotnikova, Ms. Griner said: “I made an honest mistake and I hope my life does not end here in your sentence.”
She also hinted at the possibility of a prisoner exchange that would allow her to return to the United States, an issue that has been the subject of talks between Moscow and Washington, with pressure on President Biden to secure his release.
“I know everyone keeps talking about the political and political pawn, but I hope it’s far from that courtroom,” Ms. Griner said.