destroy my writing. I would either burn it or I would just rip it up and throw it away so nobody could see it, because I didn’t want anybody to read what I was writing,” Griner continued.
Sports also helped Griner because it allowed her to turn the one thing she was bullied for into an asset. Sports was also another great way for her to release the anger building inside of her. Griner started out playing soccer and volleyball. Finally, in ninth grade, Griner discovered basketball.
What’s next for Griner?
The Biden administration is currently working on striking a deal with Russian officials to bring Griner and Paul Whelan, another American imprisoned in the country, home.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Thursday that the Russian court’s ruling “spotlights our concerns with the Russian government’s use of wrongful detentions.”
Last Wednesday, the Biden administration offered a “substantial” deal to Russia to secure their release, the White House confirmed to PEOPLE.
The deal reportedly offers to swap Griner and Whelan for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Russian officials have also asked the U.S. to include a convicted murderer and former Russian spy named Vadim Krasikov, according to CNN.
After Griner’s verdict Blinken reiterated that they plan to “do everything we can” to bring Griner and Paul Whelan home “as soon as possible.”
Both the White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, and a Defense Department spokesperson have said that Russia made this counter-proposal in “bad faith,” according to ESPN.
“It’s a bad faith attempt to avoid a very serious offer and proposal that the United States has put forward and we urge Russia to take that offer seriously,” Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby told CNN on Tuesday.
As of now, Griner’s Russian legal team says they have not been contacted about efforts to facilitate a prisoner exchange.
“Maybe we’ll hear something. I don’t know. It has not been discussed with us,” Blagovolina says.
If you are suffering from thoughts of suicide or depression, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. Or text HOME to 741-741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.