U.S. President Joe Biden appears to have a helping hand in facilitating the release of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russia.
Speaking with NBC News at a sneaker convention in Washington this weekend, NBA legend Dennis Rodman said he is heading over to Moscow sometime this week. Rodman said he got permission to go abroad to seek the release of Brittney Griner.
“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl. I’m trying to go this week,” Rodman said.
The Hall of Famer added that he has a good relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Griner, meanwhile, was sentenced earlier this month to nine years in prison and ordered to pay a $16,500 fine after being found guilty of drug possession and smuggling. The U.S. has and continues to classify Griner as “wrongfully detained.”
The U.S. has been looking to organize a prisoner swap to bring Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan back into the states. Russia, in return, would receive Viktor Bout. Known as the “Merchant of Death,” Bout was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to 25 years in 2012.
“No element of this trial changes our judgment that Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained and should be released immediately,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said last week. “That is why we’ve put forward a number of weeks ago what we consider to be a serious, substantial proposal and an effort to seek her release, to seek the release of Paul Whelan as well. We are in communication with the Russians on this matter, and we encourage them to pursue this constructively.”
Dennis Rodman Has a History of Negotiating with Foreign Leaders
Rodman’s upcoming visit comes amid the State Department issuing a travel advisory for Americans, urging people not to travel to Russia. This, however, is nothing new for Rodman. He notably traveled to North Korea in 2013 to meet with Dictator Kim Jong Un.
This story is developing. Check back with Outsider for updates.