I’m not sure who put a bug in Dennis Rodman’s ear to travel to Russia and try to help free WNBA star Brittney Griner, but luckily he has no plans of following through. Last weekend, the five-time NBA champion told NBC News:
“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl. I’m trying to go this week—I know Putin well too.”
Even if Rodman was kidding, a Black woman being imprisoned in Russia is nothing to joke about. Nor is possibly risking his livelihood in a country that has a disdain for certain Americans.
However, during a press briefing on Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told ABC News that this is simply untrue.“He would not be traveling on behalf of the U.S. government,” he stated.
In addition, Price explained:
“We believe that anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder those release efforts. We’ve also provided very clear guidance to American citizens — owing to a number of threats, not the least of which is the threat of wrongful detention — that Americans should not travel to Russia. That has been our message to private Americans across the board.”
Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison on drug charges earlier this month. Rodman ultimately recanted his declaration to go to Russia, which adheres to the State Department’s warning for American citizens to not travel to there during the war in Ukraine. They issued a “Level 4-Do Not Travel” advisory that was most recently updated on Aug. 15.