Dennis Rodman has offered his services to step up as a diplomat to strike a deal to get WNBA star Brittney Griner back on American soil. The United States government, however, believes it’s an awful idea for The Worm to get involved.
During a press briefing on Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price stressed the importance of keeping all negotiations in-house, claiming outside influence might complicate matters.
“We put forward a substantial proposal to Russia to seek the freedom of Paul Whelan or Brittney Griner,” Price said. “We believe that anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder those release efforts.”
The deal of which Price is speaking is one where the United States would exchange former marine Whelan and Griner for Viktor Bout, an arms dealer whose nickname is Merchant of Death. Does this seem fair? A basketball player with a little weed pen for a Bond villain?
While Rodman is a five-time NBA champion who has been inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame (but curiously not LEVEL's Black Men's Hair Hall of Fame) and has previously crossed international waters to broker peace, it appears he will heed the aforementioned advice.
Griner has been held in Russia since February 17, when customs agents at Sheremetyevo International Airport found out she was carrying less than a gram of hash oil. On August 4, she was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.
Griner is one of the WNBA’s most talented and popular stars, but her influence is dwarfed by her male counterparts who preach activism like Kyrie Irving or LeBron James. There have been calls for NBA players to jump in and support Griner in a meaningful way. As far as we know, there hasn’t been much beyond social media indignations. If NBA players were really about that action, they’d organize a strike—ideally one that’d last more than a day.