Basketball legend Lisa Leslie said on the ‘I’m An Athlete’ podcast that she was asked not to make a “too much fuss” about Britney Grenier Arrest by the Russian authorities.
“What we have been told, and again, all this has been through hearsay, but what we have been told is not to make a big fuss about it so that they cannot use it as a pawn, so to speak, in this case in the warLeslie said in an excerpt of the interview released Friday. “So let’s make it not that important or not make it where we want it to be, ‘Free Brittney’ and start this campaign, and then it becomes something they can use.”
Leslie, inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, played 12 seasons in the WNBA with the Los Angeles Sparks, and led the team to the championship in 2001 and 2002.
In her career, Leslie, who is 6-foot-5, was a three-time WNBA Player of the Year and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. Now 49, Leslie retired after the 2009 season.
She also won four Olympic gold medals and was three times at All-America in college.
Leslie didn’t say where the information came from, and it wasn’t clear if she knew who initially shared the guidance.
The full episode of the podcast is scheduled to release on Monday. It was not clear when the episode was filmed.
According to the Russian authorities, Grenier was arrested on charges of smuggling large quantities of a narcotic substance at a Moscow airport. Rep. Colin Allred of Texas said she was arrested on February 17.
Found an official from the US Embassy in Moscow Griner to be “in good shape,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told CNN on Wednesday, after they were recently allowed access from the consulate to the American athlete.
CNN also reached out to the State Department for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
The WNBA declined to comment on the record when contacted by CNN.
Don Staley, director of women’s basketball at the University of South Carolina, said she’s praying for Greiner and calling for all Americans to be taken out of Russia in an interview with CNN.
“I pray every day for Britney because I know her, I know her heart,” Staley said. “And imagine what? Britney will deal with this situation because as women we will find a way, we will swear. No matter what she is going through, there is a place in her heart and mind that will push her up to deal with whatever she needs to deal with. … I think we all have to do what we need to Do to get it out of it — get all Americans out of Russia, fast.”
Staley also said she was conflicted about whether or not to speak publicly about the situation.
“I don’t know what to do because they say if you talk more about it, you put her in a precarious situation. If you don’t say anything, what’s the point of it?”
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