Brittney Griner provided a glimpse of her personal story whereas testifying in a Russian courtroom on Thursday in a case through which she faces a attainable sentence of as much as 10 years in jail. Her authorized group has appealed for leniency within the case, arguing that she has contributed to Russian society and that she didn’t intend to interrupt the regulation.
“I grew up in a normal house, a normal household in Houston, Texas, with my siblings and my mom and my dad,” Ms. Griner, 31, advised the courtroom. “My parents taught me two important things: One, take ownership for your responsibilities and two, work hard for everything that you get. That’s why I pleaded guilty to my charges.”
“I understand everything that has been said against me in the charges against me, but I had no intent to break Russian law,” added Ms. Griner, who was detained in mid-February in a Moscow airport whereas on her solution to Yekaterinburg, a Russian metropolis close to the Ural Mountains the place she had been taking part in for a neighborhood group throughout the W.N.B.A. off season.
Customs officers discovered two vape cartridges containing lower than one gram of cannabis oil in her baggage.
“I want the court to understand that it was an honest mistake that I made while rushing and in stress trying to recover post-Covid and just trying to get back to my team,” she advised the courtroom on Thursday.
Ms. Griner additionally spoke of her time taking part in for UMMC Yekaterinburg.
“That hard work that my parents instilled in me is what had brought me to play for the best Russian team,” she stated. “I had no idea that the team, the city, the fans and my teammates would make such a great impression on me over the six and a half years that I spent in Yekaterinburg. It became my second home with my friends, my teammates and my fans that I would always interact with.”
The basketball star apologized to her teammates on the Russian squad and the town of Yekaterinburg, her household and her fellow W.N.B.A. gamers, together with her Arizona group, the Phoenix Mercury.
Addressing the decide within the case, Anna S. Sotnikova, Ms. Griner stated, “I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here.”
She additionally alluded to the opportunity of a prisoner swap that will permit her to return to the United States, a problem that has been the topic of talks between Moscow and Washington, with stress on President Biden to assist safe her launch.
“I know that everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that that is far from that courtroom,” Ms. Griner stated.