DALLAS — As some people celebrate Wednesday’s announcement that Texas Marine veteran Trevor Reed would be released from a Russian prison, there are others urging the U.S. government to continue working behind the scenes.
They want officials to continue pushing for the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner, former Marine Paul Whelan and any other Americans being detained in Russia.
"Our objective is to bring all Americans who are detained, who are held, who are away from their families home from overseas," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.
She said President Biden and the State Department will continue to do everything they can to bring all Americans home.
“When I opened my phone this morning, and I saw that Trevor was being released, I was overjoyed. But my first thought went to Brittney, and is this something that could be a path for her?” said Nancy Lieberman, a basketball legend and philanthropist.
Lieberman considers Griner a friend. She is among those who’ve been speaking out, asking for Griner’s release and return home to the U.S.
“Putin is so erratic, at this point, that you just don’t know what he is going to do,” Lieberman said.
Griner, a Houston native, is accused of having cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage. Her arrest and detention in Russia was extended to a hearing in mid-May. That move came as the U.S. and other countries continues speaking out on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“For something like vaping cartridges? I think that’s kind of miniscule. I don’t think that she should be detained for something like that,” said WNBA fan Curtis Moss.
Some sports fans hope a prisoner swap, like the U.S. government was able to negotiate for Reed’s release, could also be a pathway for Griner’s return home.
Moss is among those who said they hope the female basketball star is being used as a political pawn.
“If she was in the NBA, she’d be out by now,” Moss said.
Across social media, a campaign to free Brittney Griner is escalating.
“I just want her to be healthy. I want her to be happy. Everybody just wants her to be back here with her family in the United States,” Lieberman added.
Supporters say they want Griner’s situation to end safely and soon.