ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner says she thought about killing herself while in Russian jail

May 1, 2024, 9:21 PM | Updated: 9:28 pm

This image released by ABC News shows Robin Roberts, left, during an interview with Brittney Griner...

This image released by ABC News shows Robin Roberts, left, during an interview with Brittney Griner for a “20/20” special airing tonight at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. (Michael Le Brecht II/ABC News via AP)

(Michael Le Brecht II/ABC News via AP)

PHOENIX (AP) — WNBA star Brittney Griner said she thought about killing herself during her first few weeks in a Russian jail after her 2022 arrest on drug-related charges.

Griner spoke for the first time about her monthslong detention in Russia during an hourlong interview that aired Wednesday night on ABC. Her memoir, “Coming Home,” is set to be released on May 7.

Griner was detained after arriving at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges allegedly containing oil derived from cannabis.

“I wanted to take my life more than once in the first weeks,” Griner told interviewer Robin Roberts. “I felt like leaving here so badly.”

She decided against it in part because she was afraid the Russian authorities wouldn’t release her body to her family.

Her plight unfolded at the same time Russia invaded Ukraine and further heightened tensions between Russia and the U.S., ending only after she was freed in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Griner said before she was released, she was forced to write a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“They made me write this letter. It was in Russian,” she said. “I had to ask for forgiveness and thanks from their so-called great leader. I didn’t want to do it, but at the same time I wanted to come home.”

She was disappointed when she got on the plane for the trade and that Paul Whelan, another American who has been detained in Russia, wasn’t with her.

“I walked on and didn’t see him, maybe he’s next. Maybe they will bring him next,” she said. “They closed the door and I was like, are you serious? You’re not going to let this man come home now.”


Griner plays for the Phoenix Mercury. The WNBA season begins on May 14.

___

EDITOR’S NOTE — This story includes discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, the national suicide and crisis lifeline in the U.S. is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at 988lifeline.org

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Follow @KTAR923...

KTAR.com

Fatal shooting in north Tempe under investigation; Man dies at the scene

An investigation is underway after a man was fatally shot overnight near an intersection in north Tempe, authorities said.

14 minutes ago

US 60/Grand Avenue was closed in both directions on Monday morning in the West Valley following a m...

KTAR.com

US 60/Grand Avenue closed in both directions after West Valley crash

US 60/Grand Avenue was closed in both directions on Monday morning in the West Valley following a multi-vehicle wreck.

1 hour ago

Arizona State University is moving employees and classes off the Tempe campus until further notice ...

KTAR.com

ASU moving employees, classes off Tempe campus due to cooling issue

Arizona State University is moving employees and classes off the Tempe campus until further notice after a water line failed and caused a cooling issue.

2 hours ago

A motorcyclist died on Saturday, May 18, 2024, after colliding with another vehicle that was attemp...

Nick Borgia

Motorcyclist dies over the weekend after late-night collision in Phoenix

A motorcyclist died over the weekend after colliding with another vehicle that was attempting to make a left turn in Phoenix.

3 hours ago

A dump truck crash temporarily closed the transition ramp from the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway to...

KTAR.com

WB L-202 to L-101 transition ramp temporarily closed in Mesa after crash involving dump truck

The transition ramp from the westbound Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway to the Loop 101 Price Freeway was temporarily closed Monday morning following a crash involving a dump truck.

4 hours ago

Banner Imaging and HeartFlow are collaborating to offer a new program to help new patients detect c...

Bailey Leasure

Banner Health, HeartFlow offering a new program to detect coronary blockages

Banner Imaging and HeartFlow are collaborating to offer a new program to help new patients detect coronary blockages.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner says she thought about killing herself while in Russian jail