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Adam Silver reveals why US government wanted to keep ‘low profile’ on Brittney Griner’s detention

Adam Silver, Brittney Griner

Ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics, NBA commissioner Adam Silver took some time to discuss a pressing issue that continues to be a major problem not only for professional sports, but for the entire nation as well. The league’s top executive shared his thoughts on Brittney Griner’s situation in Russia as the WNBA star continues to be in detention for nearly four months now.

When asked by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith as to why the NBA has been more vocal about Griner’s issue of late, Silver revealed that they were actually given a directive by the United States government to keep the issue as low-key as possible early on. Apparently, this was in order to protect Griner:

“Well, actually, what spurred us, you used the words ‘wrongfully detained,’ and so that is an official designation used by the U.S. government,” Silver said (h/t Madison Williams of Sports Illustrated). “Initially, when she was detained, even though we all knew what was going on, we were told by the U.S. government to keep it a little bit more as a low-profile issue I think because they were hoping that Russia frankly wouldn’t see her as such a high-value asset, in which they would be looking to get something in return for her.

“Clearly now everyone understands how important she is, how well known she is in this country, how important she is in the WNBA,” Silver said. “At this point, I think for all of us, we have to bring as much attention to her case as possible, and get her home safely as quickly as possible.”

It wasn’t long before Griner and her detention started making headlines. Russia quickly realized how important the Phoenix Mercury star is and they have since been unwilling to let her go.

To be fair, the government has taken the necessary steps to facilitate Griner’s release. Unfortunately, nothing has come to fruition thus far.