Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman has reversed course and will no longer travel to Russia in an effort to free Brittney Griner from the gulag.
Rodman’s change of heart comes after the U.S. State Department urged against the move.
“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl I’m trying to go this week,” Rodman told NBC News on Saturday.
Rodman struck up an unlikely friendship with North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-Un so it is hard to say he would have failed.
But his plans fell apart when State Department spokesperson Ned Price told ABC News that Rodman would not have the support of the government if he went to Russia to try to save Griner.
“He would not be traveling on behalf of the U.S. government,” Price asserted.
“We believe that anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder those release efforts,” Price added.
“We’ve also provided very clear guidance to American citizens — owing to a number of threats, not the least of which is the threat of wrongful detention — that Americans should not travel to Russia.”
“That has been our message to private Americans across the board.”
— ussportsradio Cool Sports & Talk (@ussportsradio) August 24, 2022
According to ABC:
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.