BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey declined to comment on Brittany Greener’s condition during a press conference Monday.
As the Tigers head coach enters her second season in her first preseason practice on Monday, Mulkey of The Daily Advertiser asked her thoughts on Griner, who is in prison in Russia on drug charges.
“And you can’t,” Mulkey said when asked to comment on Griner.
Griner starred for Mulkey at Baylor from 2009-13, and the two won a national championship in 2011-12 to cap an impressive and historic undefeated 40-0 season. Griner was named the Final Four MVP that season.
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Greener Timeline: Events leading up to conviction of WNBA star in Russia
Griner and Mulkey’s relationship has been public since 2013, when Griner’s time at the school was coming to an end. Griner, who is open about her sexuality, said it wasn’t because of Mulkey, but that she was discouraged from expressing her sexuality while at Baylor.
Like many other WNBA stars, Griner has played overseas to earn more money during the league’s season — leagues in many other countries pay their players more — and has played in Russia’s top women’s league since 2014.
Griner, 31, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Aug. 4, after she was caught by Russian customs while importing hashish oil cartridges. Along with the sentence, the Russian court fined Griner 1 million rubles, or $16,301.
In February, customs officers found less than a gram of hashish oil and later arrested her on drug charges, which carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. When Griner pleaded guilty in July, she said she accidentally put the oil in her suitcase while in a hurry.
Hashish oil is derived from cannabis and is said to be used medicinally by Greener.
Since her arrest and conviction, several prominent public figures and countless stars in sports, particularly women’s basketball, have spoken out on Griner’s behalf. President Joe Biden said in July that he had offered to Russia for Greener’s release and had repeatedly called for her release.
“It is unacceptable and I demand that Russia immediately release her to be with her husband, loved ones, friends and teammates,” he said. “My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every avenue possible to bring Brittany and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
WNBA stars like Phoenix Mercury teammate Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and others around the league, as well as women’s college basketball coaches like Dawn Staley, have been speaking publicly about Griner.
But Mulkey has not made any public comment about Griner’s condition.
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Herald as part of the USA Today Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz.