Civil rights leader Sharpton pushes for visit with imprisoned Griner

The Rev. Al said he is concerned about Brittney Griner's mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Updated: July 5, 2022 - 12:40pm

The Rev. Al Sharpton has called on President Biden and members of his administration to arrange for a meeting between him and other religious leaders and imprisoned WNBA player Brittney Griner.

On Tuesday, via press release, Sharpton said that he has grown concerned about Griner's mental and physical well-being following a conversation he had with her wife last week.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and star player for the Phoenix Mercury, has been jailed in Russia since February, when she was detained on drug charges. Her trial began Friday, though in Russia, defendants are overwhelmingly found guilty following criminal proceedings. She faces 10 years in prison, if convicted.

In his release, Sharpton said, "She deserves to see the United States is doing something for her, so she can find the strength as this show trial goes on. Brittney’s family also deserves to hear from someone who has met with and spoken to her."

Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, said last week on Sharpton's radio show that she hopes the public will get involved with her wife's case.

Federal officials, she said, have told her that securing Griner's release is an issue being handled by "the highest chain of command," but she has not been given any updates on negotiations.

Sharpton, also a former MSNBC-TV show host, expressed his desire to see Secretary of State Antony Blinken set up a meeting between him and Griner.

"Four months is too long for this to have gone on," he said "And I hope the president acts on her pleas to come home."

On Monday, a handwritten letter from Griner was delivered to the president telling him she is "terrified" she might be in Russian prison forever.