Hall Of Fame Basketball Player Heading To Russia To Try To Free Brittney Griner

OPEN Sports

The “free Britney” movement has changed to another Brittney. Instead of freeing a pop star from a conservatorship controlled by her father, this movement is about freeing a WNBA player who is currently in a Russian prison.

Brittney Griner was detained in a Russian prison back in February, around the time Russia invaded Ukraine. The police found cannabis oil in her luggage, which is illegal in Russia. In court earlier this summer, she pled guilty but claimed she simply made a mistake and “had no intents to break any Russian laws.” She was sentenced in 9 years in a Russian prison.

Griner’s coach,Vanessa Nygaard, claims that if it were a male basketball player like LeBron James things would be different. Meanwhile, James claims that he doesn’t even know if he’d want to come back to the United States if he were in Griner’s position. He said, “How could she feel like America has her back?”

It sounds like the United States and Russia are working on a prisoner swap, but there are no details about when that might happen. Instead of waiting around, another basketball player, Dennis Rodman, plans to go to Russia to “help.”

Rodman told NBC News, “I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl.” He added, “I’m trying to go this week.”

A spokesperson for the Biden administration believes if Rodman travels to Russia it might not actually be helpful and might even hurt the negotiations regarding a potential prisoner swap. The spokesperson explained, “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.”

Back in 2014, Rodman traveled to Russia where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he later referred to Putin as “cool.”

In 2018, Rodman was by former President Donald Trump’s side during a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Rodman believes that he is partly responsible for getting American Kenneth Bae released from North Korea in 2014. Bae thanked Rodman for his help in 2016 and described him as “a catalyst” for his release.

Do you think it would be helpful for Rodman to visit Russia and that he might once again be “a catalyst” to get an American home, or do you agree with the Biden administration that if Rodman visits Russia it might “hinder release efforts”?