Cherelle Griner had two very different phone calls with her wife,, as the WNBA star was arrested in Russia in February for drug possession. She was excited for the first time. “It was so beautiful just to hear her voice,” Cherelle revealed of the first call. She thought her wife was fine and that “they could have survived this.”
But the second phone call worried her. “You could hear that she wasn’t okay. If you just think about a person’s suffering and when they’ve suffered to their maximum … she was at her maximum that day,” Cherelle told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King.
Griner remains in a Russian prison before
Cherelle said that after the second call ended, “I think I cried for about two, three days straight. It was the most disturbing phone call I’ve ever had.”
“I think it’s the most peaceful moment I’ve ever shared with my wife,” she added. “I was at a loss for words.
The WBNA star and Olympic gold medalist was arrested at a Moscow airport in February after she was found with less than a gram of hash oil in her vaporizer refills, which she had prescribed for chronic pain. In August, she was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.
“I believe that crime should be punished,” Cherelle noted. “But it has to be balanced.
“BG has really suffered beyond her crime,” she added.
Cherelle said she hopes the US-Russia prisoner swap will happen before the upcoming hearing. A recent meeting at the White House reassured her that President Biden is fighting alongside her.
“He’s doing what he can. But there’s another side to this situation, and we’re also dealing with the need for Russia to have mercy on BG as well,” Cherelle said.
She said she fears what will happen if Griner’s appeal is denied.
“Once the hearing takes place and the order is finalized, BG is now in a position to be moved to a labor camp,” Cherelle said. “My brain can’t even comprehend it.
She added that Griner is already struggling as he awaits his freedom.
“I don’t know if she has anything left in the tank to continue to wake up every day and be in a place where she doesn’t have anybody,” Cherelle said.
Cherelle said her wife is “at the absolute lowest point in her life” and fears she will be forgotten in Russia.
“He tells me things like, ‘My life doesn’t even matter anymore,'” Cherelle said. “You know, ‘I feel like my life doesn’t matter. Like, I’m just being thrown around, like, for people’s entertainment and profit.’
When All-star WBNA was sentenced in August, she said in the courtroom that she made an honest mistake and that she hoped the court’s verdict would not end her life. Cherelle said that when Griner questions whether her life matters, she wants her to know that he is fighting to bring her back to the United States.
“Those are all valid emotions that I’m feeling, and I don’t have answers for them other than the fact that I care about your life and I want to get you back home,” she said. “I’m going to continue to pray every day that, you know, the people who make the decisions in this situation will have mercy and sit up and see that your life matters and do what they can.” consent – subject to conditions.”
Cherelle said she felt some hope when she heard about the release of Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine who won his freedom in a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia.
“When Trevor Reed was released, you’d think it was Brittney Griner because I was so happy. And I didn’t meet the Reed family yet, but I know right away, I went on Instagram and I made a post and he was so happy for his family . Because I know what I feel. And I’m just, like, wow. Like, it’s over for them that day. What I’m feeling is over for them that day and I was so happy,” she said.
The White House said it had a substantial deal on the table and urged Russia to consider it or make a strong counteroffer.