Brittney Griner Details Inhumane Russian Prison Conditions In First Interview

Brittney Griner is finally sharing her experience in Russian captivity. The WNBA star sat down with ABC’s 20/20 with Robin Roberts for her first interview since her release. In the preview, Griner detailed feeling hopeless amid the inhumane conditions and how it led to suicidal ideation. 

“My life is over right here,” the athlete said while recalling when Russian authorities arrested her for having vape cartridges in her luggage. “I didn’t think I could get through what I needed to get through… I was just so scared for everything ’cause it was just so much unknown.”

“It was a huge knife sitting on the table, and I was just like, now this is going to be a ride. You got to do what you got to do to survive,” she added. “The mattress had a huge blood stain on it. I had no soap, no toilet paper. That was the moment where I just felt less than a human.”

The full episode is scheduled to be aired on May 1 as a special edition of ABC’s 20/20 with Robin Roberts, entitled Prisoner in Russia.

Griner also previously stated that she has plans to detail her journey in an upcoming memoir, documentary, and scripted television series. 

Brittney Griner was detained in Russia and imprisoned for almost 10 months. President Joe Biden and his administration negotiated for her release with Russia, with the U.S. agreeing on an exchange for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout

Upon release, the athlete thanked President Biden for negotiating her freedom. In an Instagram post, she relished in her liberation and thanked those who stood by her during the hard times. Griner also called for the release of other American citizens who remained behind.

It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith, and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help. 

“President Biden, you brought me home, and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home, too. I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone [who] played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.”