Soccer star and Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe is recognized by President Joe Biden during a ceremony to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House on July 7, 2022.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Megan Rapinoe privately asked President Biden to take more action to secure the release of Brittney Griner, per Politico.
Griner has been held in Russia since February when vape cartridges with hashish oil were found in her luggage.
Rapinoe is one of many high-profile figures who have sought the release of the basketball player.
American soccer star Megan Rapinoe privately asked President Joe Biden to take more action to secure the release of Brittney Griner from Russia, according to Politico’s West Wing Playbook.
Last month, Rapinoe was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian honor in the United States — during a formal ceremony at the White House, where she beamed at receiving the honor.
But when she first received a call from Biden where she was informed that she’d be awarded the meal, Rapinoe — who won the Gold medal with the national women’s team at the 2012 Olympics in London and secured the Bronze at the 2020 games in Tokyo — spoke of Griner’s plight in Russia.
And at the White House ceremony, Rapinoe wore a white suit with the initials “BG” visible on the lapel.
“I know the administration is working really hard to get her home, it’s obviously a difficult situation, but we need to get her home immediately,” she told ABC News in July. “I think we can do more, I think we can always do more.”
Griner, 31, has been held in Russia since mid-February when officials alleged that they had discovered vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage while she was traveling through Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
She was in the country to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg, the Russian professional women’s team where she spends the WNBA off-season.
Just days after Griner’s arrest, Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, which has cratered diplomatic relations with the United States and other Western countries.
Earlier this month, Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.
A CNN report from late July revealed that the Biden administration sought to swap a convicted Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, for the release of Griner, along with securing the freedom of Paul Whelan, a Marine who was arrested in the country and accused of spying.
In June 2020, Whelan received a 16-year sentence in a Russian prison.