As Brittney Griner awaits a potential prisoner exchange, an unlikely spokesperson is stepping in to intervene on her behalf, none other than Dennis Rodman, the five-time NBA champion.
Dennis Rodman, 61, has revealed plans to travel to Russia and seek the release of Griner, 31, who was sentenced to nine years in prison for drug possession.
Although the imprisoned basketball player’s lawyers are in the midst of planning an appeal, Rodman has revealed plans to travel to Russia, to meet with President Vladimir Putin, and see if he can help Griner’s case.
In an interview with NBC, Rodman shared that he has, in fact, received permission to go to Russia to plead for Griner’s case: “I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl, I’m trying to go this week.”
He added, “I know Putin too well,” referring to his 2014 visit to Russia, when Rodman met President Putin, remarking that the leader is a “cool guy.” Rodman continued, “they don’t know about American basketball, American football. I went over there to represent America as far as basketball is concerned,” Rodman told Fox Business at the time. “I’m not a politician, I’m just a basketball ambassador. That’s it.”
The Biden administration has commented that “he is more likely to hurt than help.” They continue, “It’s public information that the administration has made a significant offer to the Russians and anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder release efforts.”
Although the US has imposed sanctions and issued travel advisories on Russia since their invasion of Ukraine in February, Rodman does not need permission from the US to travel to the country. He only requires a Russian visa.
History shows that Rodman is not afraid to step into some tough situations. This is not the first time he has taken it upon himself to become a bit of an unofficial diplomat. In 2014, he helped secure the release of American prisoner, Kenneth Bae from North Korea. On a different occasion, he met with North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un and former US President, Donald Trump during a 2018 visit to Singapore.
Dennis Rodman on Brittney Griner:
“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl… I’m trying to go this week.”
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) August 21, 2022