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Brittney Griner's wife fears for basketball star's mental health in Russian custody

The psychological toll of imprisonment is wearing on the basketball great, who says "my mind is fading in here," according to Cherelle Griner.
Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on July 27, 2022.
Brittney Griner arrives for a hearing at the Khimki Court outside Moscow on July 27.Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP via Getty Images file

The wife of detained basketball star Brittney Griner said Tuesday that she fears for her wife's mental health and that the decorated player's "mind is fading" in Russian custody.

Griner, the Phoenix Mercury center, is serving a nine-year prison sentence on drug charges in what's widely viewed as a political stunt by the Kremlin in reaction to U.S. sanctions against Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Cherelle Griner said she last spoke with her wife in mid-October as she described her struggles to overcome the mental hardships of Russian imprisonment.

"She said her mental [health], it's not there, you know? And she told me, like, 'I’m really just trying to hold on to the last bit of you that I can remember, you know?'" Cherelle Griner said Tuesday on ABC's "The View."

"She’s like, 'My mind is fading in here.' And, you know, it’s just so disheartening to hear," Cherelle Griner said.

Brittney Griner, who for years has played in Russia during the WNBA's offseason, was arrested and accused of being in possession of cannabis-derived vape cartridges.

Cherelle Griner, a law school graduate and aspiring attorney, had held out hope that her wife's harsh sentence would be cut — before a court last week affirmed it.

"Honestly, it was just disheartening. It was a complete disbelief for me. I mean, I understand, being in the field of law, you know, that every state, every country has their own rules. But this is just absurd," Cherelle Griner told the panel of "The View."

"I mean, the crime and the punishment is disproportionate at its finest. I mean, there are people convicted of murder in Russia who has a sentence way less than BG."

Cherelle Griner said her only hope now is for the White House and the Kremlin to agree to a prisoner swap.

"And so right now, that was the complete end of it. There is nothing more to expect from a legal standpoint," she said. "And all eggs now are in a basket for our government and for America to see how important this issue is, because this could happen to anybody."