Dennis Rodman has canceled plans to travel to Russia to help jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner after the US State Department insisted the 5-time NBA champion would not make the trip.
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has canceled plans to travel to Russia to help incarcerated WNBA star Brittany Griner.
|place of birth –
|Houston, United States of America
This decision comes after US State Department spokesman Ned Price strongly discouraged Rodman from going to Russia, saying Rodman’s trip could derail ongoing negotiations.
“He was not traveling on behalf of the US government,” Price told ABC News. “We believe that anything other than further negotiation through established channels could complicate and hinder those evacuation efforts.”
On Saturday, Rodman officially confirmed that he has received permission to travel to Russia, and is preparing for the trip.
“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl,” Rodman told NBC News on Saturday. “I’m trying to go this week.”
However, according to ABC News, the 5-time NBA champion has no plans to travel to Russia now.
In the year On July 29, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was ready to discuss the possible detainers with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, American WNBA star Brittany Griner and imprisoned American Paul Whelan.
Although U.S. officials did not provide details on the proposed deal, the deal includes Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is high on Russia’s prisoner exchange wish list.
Blinken continued, “I will raise an issue of great concern to us, Americans Paul Whelan and Brittany Griner, who were unjustly imprisoned and should be allowed to return to their country.”
“We have put a big proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate the situation for them to be resolved. Our government has talked to us repeatedly and directly about that proposal,” the foreign minister added.
“I will personally use that conversation to follow up, and hopefully lead us to a resolution.”
This wouldn’t be the first time Rodman has engaged in informal diplomacy, as the NBA champion has forged a relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Rodman met Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015. He called it “cool” after their 2014 trip to Moscow. In the year In 2018, he was seen alongside former President Donald Trump when he met with Kim in Singapore.
Finally, Rodman credits himself for his efforts to secure the release of American Kenneth Bae from North Korea.
Griner has been detained in Moscow since February, accused of smuggling a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage while trying to enter Russia.
Griner arrived at the court in Khimki, Moscow region, for her eighth hearing on Thursday.
The player was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors reduced the final sentence by one year.
The 31-year-old 2.06-meter center holds up a photo of her teammates from UMC Yekaterinburg, the Russian basketball team she played for during the WNBA season. Several foreign players who played for Russian teams, including Marta Hargay and Ana Cruz, have campaigned in support of other Americans.