Brittney Griner plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. She has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17.

Houston native and Baylor graduate Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court. She was also fined 1 million rubles or about $16,000. The 31-year-old WNBA star was convicted of drug possession.

President Joe Biden called the verdict and sentence unacceptable. The U.S. State Department continues to negotiate for her release, presumably through a prisoner exchange.

Griner made a statement apologizing to her family, Russian teammates and the Russian city where she plays.

Human Rights Campaign released the following statement:

Today, WNBA star Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison. In response, Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madisonissued the following statement of support for Griner:

“Over the past several months, the world has watched with growing concern as Brittney Griner – an American hero who is so much more than a WNBA superstar and Olympian  – continues to be unlawfully detained in Russia. We join with so many of Brittney’s loved ones – her friends, teammates, and family – in sending her support as she endures this unimaginable hardship, so far from home.

“Today’s harsh sentencing is merely the latest example of how she is being used as a political pawn – and it has to stop. It is long past time that we bring Brittney home and we support the Biden administration’s efforts to do so.”

— David Taffet