As soon as WNBA star Brittney Griner boarded the government jet that would take her home, she didn’t want any alone time.
“I’ve spent the last ten months in jail listening to the Russians. Roger Carstens, the special presidential envoy for hostage matters, helped negotiate the basketball star’s release and bring her back to the United States last week, reported that Griner remarked, “I want to talk.”
She made introductions, shook hands, and “made a personal connection with them” as she made her way through the flight crew, according to Carstens, as she made her way around the aircraft.
In the end, Griner talked with other passengers for nearly 12 hours of the 18-hour flight, according to Carstens.
Despite declining to provide more specifics, Carstens noted that the two-time Olympic gold medalist and Phoenix Mercury pro basketball player discussed her stay in the Russian correctional colony and her months in captivity.
Carstens stated, “I got the feeling that this is a person who is intelligent, passionate, sensitive, humble, intriguing, and a patriot.”
“But authentic is most important. I wouldn’t say I like meeting her this way, but I consider myself fortunate to have had the chance to get to know her.
Carstens stated that despite Griner being subject to a thorough medical and mental evaluation, she seemed “full of energy, looked beautiful.”
The Russian police said Griner had vape canisters containing cannabis oil when she was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February.
Griner previously played professional basketball in Russia.
According to the U.S. State Department, Griner was “wrongfully imprisoned,” a claim that Russia has categorically denied.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Carstens gave a speech.