Dennis Rodman’s Russian rescue of Brittney Griner called off


Dennis Rodman reacts after being introduced as part of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team during the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 20, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Dennis Rodman flying to Griner’s rescue is no more.

Two days after former NBA star Dennis Rodman told NBC News he had secured permission to travel to Russia, Rodman is now reneging the offer. On Monday, he told ABC News he no longer has plans to make the trip.

Rodman’s hesitancy and ultimate reversal comes amid scrutiny from the U.S. government which condemned his ambitions, stressing such efforts would do “more harm than good” and that they did not stand in solidarity with the endeavor.

“He would not be traveling on behalf of the U.S. government,” Ned Price, a State Department spokesperson, spoke to ABC News during a press briefing on Monday.

“We believe that anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder those release efforts,” he added.

The U.S. State Department currently has a “Level 4 — Do Not Travel” advisory in effect for Russia, which also warns Americans in the country to leave immediately.

Price echoed those sentiments Monday, telling ABC News the State Department has “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.”

This isn’t the first time the NBA hall-of-famer has inserted himself into U.S. foreign policy issues, as he traveled to Singapore in 2018 for the historic Trump-Kim summit. Rodman is one of the few Westerners who had met with Un in Pyongyang in the past.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, urging him to accept a deal in what was considered an extraordinary move. The call marked the highest-level known contact between Washington and Moscow since Russia sent troops into Ukraine and began the Ukraine-Russian conflict more than five months ago.

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