After several months of being held in Russia on drug charges, WNBA star Brittney Griner has apparently decided to forego a trial.
On Thursday, Griner pleaded guilty in Russian court. She faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing.
During her guilty plea, Griner stated that she did not intend to break the law and would like the opportunity to give her testimony on the matter. A hearing is scheduled for July 14.
"I'd like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn't want to break the law..." Griner said. "I'd like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare."
The wider sports world is stunned by the development. Some are hopeful that this might be some sort of behind-the-scenes tactic to help bring her back to the United States.
Brittney Griner is an eight-time WNBA All-Star who won the WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury in 2014. She is a two-time league scoring leader, an eight-time blocks leader, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a two-time World Cup champion.
Griner even played basketball in Russia for UMMC Ekaterinburg to make extra money. Though it seems unlikely that she ever will again even if she is freed.
The U.S. State Department has been in negotiation with Russia to try and get her back, but tensions are high given the massive sanctions placed on Russia as a result of their ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
We hope that Griner stays safe.