The professional female basketballer was arrested earlier in the year in Russia after she was found in possession of Cannabis oil, deemed illegal in the country.
She was found guilty in August and given a nine-year prison sentence despite the U.S. government making many diplomatic attempts on her behalf. She subsequently submitted an appeal to have the ruling overturned.
Rodman, who is renowned for making unofficial diplomatic trips, has now made it known that he intends to travel to Russia this week to request the release of Griner.
Dennis Rodman Said He ‘Got Permission To Go To Russia’
According to reports garnered by Newsweek, Rodman is gearing up to go to Russia to seek Griner’s freedom. The former NBA star spoke with the press in a restaurant in Washington D.C., where he shared his plans. “I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl,” he said, adding, “I’m trying to go this week.”
Griner, who previously played for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA, was arrested at the Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow on February 17. At the time, she had arrived in the country for an off-season playoff with the Russian basketball team, UMMC Ekaterinburg.
She was found to be in possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, deemed illegal in Russia. In August, she was found guilty of drug smuggling and was sentenced to nine years in a Russian jail. Although Griner subsequently filed an appeal, it is unlikely that she will succeed in overturning the decision, given Russia’s strict policy on narcotics.
Dennis Rodman’s Visit May Worsen Brittney Griner’s Case
According to insiders within the U.S. administration, Rodman’s planned visit won’t help Grinner’s case; in fact, it will only worsen things.
“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,” a source told NBC News.
The U.S. government had made several contacts with the Russian government to secure Griner’s release throughout her trial. After her guilty verdict, Grinner apologized to her teammates, fans, and club for her actions.
NBC reported that talks are still ongoing despite the guilty verdict. The U.S. administration is still hoping to work out a prisoner swap to secure the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, an American prisoner serving a 16-year sentence in Russia.
U. S Advised Citizens Not To Visit Russia
It is unclear if Rodman will fulfill his plans to visit Russia to secure Grinner’s release. The U.S. state department has also advised against such a visit due to the shaky relationship between both countries following the invasion of Ukraine.
Since the start of the Ukraine War, the U.S. has imposed several sanctions on Russia. In response, the Kremlin has barred key White House officials, including the president, from entering the country.
There are no details on whether Rodman has contacted any Russian officials via the embassy before his trip. The 61-year-old had previously visited the country in 2014, spending most of his time in Moscow.
While Rodman’s confidence about securing Griner’s release is quite shocking, the former NBA star may be hoping that his prior interactions with reclusive leaders such as North Kore leader Kim Jong-un might be to his advantage.
Dennis Rodman’s NFT Collection
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Earlier in the year, Rodman released his own set of NFT collections dubbed “Rodman’s Barbershop.” The retired NBA star collaborated with Sophie Watts and Jeff Hood of the Metacurio for the project, which offered over 6,000 NFT to Rodman’s fans.
The NFT collection debuted in April and featured an array of the controversial hairstyles Rodman sported throughout his career in the NBA. A representative for the project shared the reason behind the collaboration via Sportskeeda.
“We wanted to immortalize Dennis’ fashion sense, style, and bravado and give fans and collectors an opportunity to own one of the many hairstyles that have made Dennis a global icon,” the source said.
At the time, selected NFT holders were given exclusive merchandise and gears signed by Rodman.
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