Dennis Rodman, whom Sports Illustrated once described as "a sort of basketball genius," said on Saturday that he is going to fly to Russia so he can help free Brittney Griner.
Rodman was at a Washington, DC restaurant and in the nation's capital attending a sneaker convention when he spoke to NBC news. "I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl. I’m trying to go this week," Rodman said.
In March, WNBA player Brittney Griner was detained in Russia on drug charges after hashish oil was discovered in her bags at the Moscow airport. Griner said there was "no intent" and that she "didn't want to break the law."
Sometime in the spring the Biden administration offered to swap Griner and another prisoner, Paul Whelan, for convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, also known as the 'Merchant of Death.'
On August 4 Griner was found guilty and sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison.
While Rodman didn't clarify who gave him permission and there are no special permissions needed for Americans to visit Russia. Rodman, whose nickname was 'the worm,' did say that he knew Russian President Vladimir Putin "too well, according to Fox News.
"Do not travel to Russia," a State Department travel advisory warns all Americans. "Due to the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the singling out of U.S. citizens in Russia by Russian government security officials including for detention, the arbitrary enforcement of local law, limited flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19-related restrictions, and terrorism."
The statement states: "US citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart Russia immediately."
Rodman has claimed friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and visited the country on multiple occasions. In 2014, Rodman claims he helped facilitate the release of American Kenneth Bae from North Korea and in 2018, offered support to help the North Korean dictator in talks with then President Donald Trump.
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