Dennis Rodman Says He Will Go To Russia To Help Release Brittney Griner

The White House has concerns about the retired NBA star getting involved.

Retired NBA player Dennis Rodman revealed Saturday (Aug. 20) that he plans to travel to Russia to help release imprisoned WNBA star Brittney Griner, as the United States and its former Cold War rival are reportedly negotiating her release, NBC News reports.

"I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl. I'm trying to go this week," the five-time NBA champion told the news outlet.

On Aug. 4, a Russian court found Griner guilty on cannabis possession charges and sentenced her nine years in prison.

Reuters reported on Aug. 18 that Russia's foreign ministry said his country and the United States were engaged in "quiet diplomacy" on a potential prisoner swap that would include the two-time gold medallist. The Biden administration has reportedly offered to exchange Russian arms trafficker Victor Bout for Griner and fellow detained American Paul Whelen, a former U.S. Marine.

The White House has serious concerns about Rodman inserting himself in the negotiations.

“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 Biden administration official told NBC News.

RELATED: Russia And The U.S. Reportedly Engaging In Brittney Griner Prisoner Swap

RELATED: Brittney Griner Appealing Russian Prison Sentence, Despite U.S. Insistence She Was Wrongfully Detained

The former Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons player is no stranger to involving himself with foreign affairs. Rodman has visited North Korea multiple times and has cultivated a relationship with the country’s leader Kim Jong Un for years.

"He's my friend for life - I don't care what you guys think about him," BBC quoted Rodman defending the dictator.

Rodman, 61, called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “cool guy” after a Moscow trip in 2014.

“I know Putin too well,” Rodman said of his relationship with the Russian president, according to NBC.

Griner, who plays basketball in Russia during the WNBA off season, was detained in Russia in February after her arrest at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow for allegedly carrying hashish oil vape cartridges in her luggage. She pleaded guilty to drug charges on July 7. But she has said the vape cartridges were in her luggage mistakenly, and she didn’t intend to commit a crime.

The Biden administration has classified Griner as “wrongfully detained” and been under pressure to secure her release.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.