Former NBA player Denise Rodman told a news outlet that he was going abroad because he “got permission to go to Russia to help that girl,” adding that the trip would not take place.
He reversed course shortly after the US State Department announced that Rodman’s voyage would not be on behalf of the United States.
NBC News It was reported on Saturday that Rodman made a statement to media outlets about his planned visit to the release of WNBA player Brittany Griner while at a Washington, DC, restaurant.
On Monday, the US government warned Rodman not to interfere in the Griner case, according to abc news.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told ABC News during a press briefing that if Rodman went to Russia “he would not travel on behalf of the US government.”
“We recognize that anything other than further negotiations through the established channel could complicate and hinder those release efforts,” he said.
Price said the State Department has “provided very clear guidance to US citizens — because of the many dangers, not the least of which is the threat of wrongful detention — that Americans should not travel to Russia. This is across the board.” That has been our message to private Americans in the U.S.,” ABC reported.
The department currently has a “Level 4-Do Not Travel” advisory regarding Russia due to the nation’s conflict with Ukraine. Griner was convicted of drug charges in Russia earlier this month and sentenced to nine years in prison. The Biden administration has classified Griner as “wrongfully detained” in Russia.
Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters he had spoken to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss securing Griner’s return to the US in exchange for a convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout. ABC reported that American Paul Whelan, who has been detained in Russia since 2018, will also be part of that swap.
Price noted that “those discussions are ongoing.”
Rodman has previously informally involved himself in international affairs with North Korea. The former player had a cordial relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the past decade, who made several tours of the country. Rodman visited Moscow in 2014, and described Russian President Vladimir Putin as “cool” after that visit.
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