US Officials Met With Brittney Griner in Russia, White House Says
WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington was buzzing with excitement Wednesday after news broke that the University of Arkansas football player who was stripped of his Heisman Trophy is living on the Russian border with his mother, while the university said he has an apartment in Little Rock.
In a stunning public acknowledgment of a case that began with an apology on the front page of The Associated Press on Friday, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said the player, Brittney Griner, was offered the chance to live in the U.S.
“I think she saw this as a chance to come home,” attorney Bobbi Jurgens said of Griner, who was granted political asylum after being stripped of her Heisman earlier this week.
“Brittney’s been an advocate for people who are fleeing persecution and fighting for their right to come to this country,” McDaniel told reporters at a news conference. “These are people who have come here and committed crimes here, but they’re fleeing because of violence and persecution that they face back home.”
He said Arkansas was offering the former NCAA star a $15,000 rent-free apartment for a year, along with $25,000 to cover the costs for travel to the U.S. and money for her to enroll at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock.
McDaniel said he wanted to know more about Griner, who has been in Russia for four years, and the situation that led to her being stripped of her football scholarship.
“Whether it’s her story and whether she’s been in a situation similar to this and whether she’s made the decision to come here and live with us in Arkansas,” the attorney general said, “we’re going to explore those points.”
McDaniel said he’d call him on Friday to make an official announcement.
“We want to hear what she has to say,” he said. “We haven’t seen the case yet.