It appears Dennis Rodman will not be going to Russia, after all.
Days after the retired NBA star said he had been given permission to go to Russia in hopes of gaining the release of imprisoned WNBA star and Houston native Brittney Griner, Rodman is now changing his tune.
Rodman has told ABC that he will not be going to Moscow as he previously stated over the weekend.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise since Rodman’s plan “to go to Russia to help that girl” had seemed problematic from the start. Both the United States and Russia have confirmed that there are some negotiations going on for a prisoner swap, which is believed to include American detainee Paul Whelan and a Russian arms dealer who is imprisoned in the U.S., that could bring Griner home soon.
An unsanctioned mission like the one Rodman, 61, was planning may have only complicated negotiations if were to be invited into Russia. The U.S. State Department made it clear earlier this week that Rodman’s diplomatic mission would not be on United State’s behalf.
In fact, the Biden Administration made it clear that no Americans, including Rodman, should travel to Russia right now. State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, told ABC News that if Rodman did travel to Russia, “He would not be traveling on behalf of the U.S. government.”
“We believe that anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder those release efforts,” Price added.
Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison earlier this month on drug smuggling charges. Griner, who plays basketball during the WNBA offseason near Moscow, was detained in February after vape cartridges containing hardish oil were allegedly found in her luggage at the airport on her return home to the United States.
The U.S. has declared Griner wrongfully detained by Russia. The U.S. and Russia have been at odds since Russia invaded Ukraine.