White House reportedly doesn't approve of Dennis Rodman's plan to rescue Brittney Griner

If Dennis Rodman received "approval" for his plan to travel to Russia and help secure Brittney Griner's release, it doesn't look like it came from the White House.

An anonymous senior official in President Joe Biden's administration has told Reuters the White House is not a fan of Rodman's plan, and believe it could actually hurt Griner's chances of being released.

"It is public information that the administration has made a significant offer to the Russians and anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder release efforts," the official said.

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How did Rodman get involved?

We don't know how or why Rodman decided to get involved with Griner's case. All we know is that he recently told NBC News that he soon plans to travel to Russia to "help" Griner secure her release.

"I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl," Rodman told NBC News at a restaurant in D.C. "I'm trying to go this week."

Who did he get permission from? What exactly is his plan? Why did he refer to Griner, the person he's trying to help and an extremely popular and accomplished WNBA star, as "that girl" instead of using her actual name? Those are all valid questions that have yet to be answered.


While this plan seems like it's entirely out of the blue — and it very well may be — it's possible Rodman's previous involvement with Russia spurred him to try and "help." He traveled to the country in 2014 at President Vladimir Putin's request, and later called Putin "cool."

Rodman claimed at the time that his visit wasn't political in nature and he was just acting as a "basketball ambassador." However, he appears to be very familiar with Putin. He told NBC News that "I know Putin too well."

Griner remains in prison

Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, has been detained in Russia since February when airport authorities found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. Since hashish oil is illegal in Russia, Griner was arrested. She pleaded guilty and asked for leniency, explaining in court that it was an honest mistake and she never intended to bring those vape cartridges into the country. The judge sentenced Griner to nine years in prison, just one year short of the maximum sentence for that crime. Griner has since appealed that sentence.


The U.S. government has reportedly offered to release Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner and Paul Whelan, an American who was convicted of espionage two years ago and sentenced to 16 years in a Russian prison. Russia has yet to respond publicly, and it could take quite awhile for both countries to work out a prisoner exchange that will bring Griner home.

CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 20: 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. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
The White House doesn't want Dennis Rodman to get involved with the Brittney Griner case. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)