WASHINGTON D.C., DC — U.S. official granted access to detained WNBA star Brittney Griner found her to be in "good condition," the State Department said Wednesday.
Editor's note: The video above originally aired on March 18.
"We were able to check on her condition, we will continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network, to see to it that she is treated fairly," U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told CNN.
"Our official found Brittney Griner to be in good condition and we will continue to do everything we can to see to that it she is treated fairly throughout this ordeal," he added.
The Houston native was detained after arriving at a Moscow airport in mid-February. Russian authorities said her luggage contained vape cartridges that allegedly contained oil from cannabis. If found guilty, the charge could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The U.S. had stepped up its push for consular access to Griner, who plays professionally in Russia during the WNBA offseason.
“We are closely engaged on this case and in frequent contact with Brittney Griner’s legal team," the State Department said in a statement Friday. "We insist the Russian government provide consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia, including those in pre-trial detention, as Brittney Griner is."
The news Thursday left her friends in the United States frustrated and concerned.
"I was really disappointed,” said Debbie Jackson, who coached Griner in basketball for four years at Nimitz High School in Aldine ISD. “I was hoping something could be resolved out of court and she would be able to come back home, or at least not be sitting in a jail cell."
Jackson is skeptical since no one from outside of Russia has verified statements from their government officials about Griner’s situation.
She’s also concerned about the country's record on detaining other non-citizens and LBGT rights.
"(With) Brittney being gay, I'm fearful that that will be used against her,” Jackson said. “The longer it strings out, the more doubtful I am that it's gonna be resolved quickly."
Nancy Lieberman, a former WNBA coach and player, has known Griner since her college days.
"She’s an amazing person, role model, champion, and she doesn't deserve what's happening right now,” Lieberman said during an interview Thursday with reporter Kevin Reece at KHOU’s sister station in Dallas, WFAA.
Lieberman said she can’t imagine how Griner feels.
"If it was Lebron James, if it was Steph Curry, if it was Tiger Woods, would we be reading about this every single day?” Lieberman said. “There’d be a movement to get our guys back in America. I don't know. Where's the movement for Brittney?"
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents the area in Houston where Griner grew up, has been active in trying to move Griner’s case along and get her home.
An online petition is calling on government officials to make Griner's return a top priority. It has more than 71,000 signatures.
Griner has won two Olympic gold medals with the U.S., a WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury and a national championship at Baylor. She is a seven-time All-Star. The WNBA season opens May 6.
She was one of a dozen WNBA players who played in Russia or Ukraine this past season. All except Griner have left since Russia invaded Ukraine.