Former basketball player Dennis Rodman has announced that he is going to Russia to try and get WNBA player Brittney Griner released.
Griner was arrested in Russia for bringing marijuana into the country and has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
“Griner, the most prominent American jailed by a foreign government, has acknowledged there were vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage when she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February,” the Associated Press reported. “But she insisted that she had no criminal intent and that the canisters ended up in her luggage because she was packing hastily. Griner played for a Russian women’s basketball team in the WNBA off-season.”
Now, Rodman claims that he is stepping in to help.
“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl,” Rodman told NBC News. “I’m trying to go this week.”
Rodman added, “I know Putin too well.”
The informal diplomat has previously said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “cool” and visited Moscow in 2014.
Since leaving sports, Rodman has become known for his unofficial diplomacy with foreign nations.
The star has a friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and has visited the nation multiple times.
“In 2018, he showed up on the sidelines of former President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim in Singapore. And he has credited himself with helping to secure the release of American Kenneth Bae from North Korea,” NBC noted in their report.
Griner was severely critical of the United States prior to her detention in Russia.
Earlier this month, Joe Biden said that the US is working to get her and another American imprisoned in Russia back.
“My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely,” Biden said.
Biden has not elaborated on what they are doing.