Former NBA player Dennis Rodman said Saturday that he plans to visit Russia to seek the release of Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who was sentenced to nine years in prison on drug charges earlier this month.
“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl,” Rodman told NBC News at a restaurant in D.C. “I’m trying to go this week.”
If Rodman goes to Russia, it won’t be the first time he has conducted informal diplomacy with an international leader who has strained relations with the U.S.
Rodman has cultivated a relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the past decade, making multiple visits to the hermit kingdom. He called Russian President Vladimir Putin “cool” after a 2014 trip to Moscow. In 2018, he showed up on the sidelines of former President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim in Singapore. And he has credited himself with helping to secure the release of American Kenneth Bae from North Korea.
The U.S. has imposed stiff sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine and is aiding Ukraine’s forces. Griner’s imprisonment has created an additional source of tension between the two countries — and a potential avenue for diplomacy.
Read the full story on NBCNews.com.
WNBA star Brittney Griner was arrested and detained in Russia on Feb. 17. Here is a timeline of events that led to her arrest and what has happened since.
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