DALLAS — Nancy Lieberman is a basketball legend who counts Brittney Griner as a friend. And as an athlete, and a mom, she asks that the chorus to release the WNBA star from Russian custody get louder.
"Thank you for doing this and thank you for being loud on behalf of Brittney. We need this," Lieberman told WFAA. "If it was Lebron James, if it was Steph Curry, if it was Tiger Woods, would we be reading about this every single day? There would be a movement to get our guys back in America. I don't know. Where is the movement for Brittney?"
"It's just a horrible, horrible situation."
A Moscow court has extended the arrest of WNBA star and Houston native Brittney Griner until May 19, according to the Russian state news agency Tass.
Griner was detained at a Moscow airport in February, after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges. They were identified as containing oil derived from cannabis, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
A Change.org petition has been started to have the Houston native returned home safely. As of March 17, it has more than 64,000 signatures.
"She's an amazing person, role model, champion and she doesn't deserve what's happening right now," Lieberman said.
Paula Reed says her son doesn't deserve this either. Trevor Reed has been in Russian custody for 942 days now. The Marine, in Russia to visit his girlfriend, was accused of public intoxication and assaulting a police officer and convicted July of 2020.
U.S. officials have said they believe Reed was imprisoned on trumped-up charges and was solely picked up as a bargaining chip for a future prisoner swap with America.
"It's just very frustrating because our son's medical condition is declining quickly," Paula Reed said, of the most recent updates from a Russian prison hospital where they believe Trevor's symptoms might indicate untreated tuberculosis.
"And we're just really, really concerned about that more than anything," she said.
Earlier this month, after a visit to North Texas, President Biden phoned Joey and Paula Reed to tell them he would do everything he can to win Trevor's release. He promised he would also schedule a private one-on-one meeting with them at the White House. Paula Reed says the President also prayed a rosary Trevor.
"It only reaffirmed what we thought that he is a kind and compassionate man," said Paula Reed.
But at two and a half years and counting, the Granbury family struggles, as they know Griner's family does now as well.
"I had a friend who said once he's been gone so long, you should be getting used to it. But it's really the opposite. It's harder to go as every day goes by," Paula Reed said. "And I don't understand why our government hasn't been able to bring him home. It's been too long. He needs to come home."
"It's a terrible place to be in for any family, for our loved ones and you're just, you've got to have some patience," she said.
Patience yes. But always patient...and loud.
"I would tell Brittney that you're loved, you're cared for, we miss you, we want to get you home," Lieberman said. "We hope you're OK."