Dennis Rodman has pulled out of going to Russia to free Brittney Griner after getting brutal warning
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NBA legend Dennis Rodman will no longer travel to Russia to plead with President Vladimir Putin to free WNBA star Brittney Griner.
Rodman revealed days ago that he intended to travel to Russia to speak to Putin to ask for the release of the basketball star after she was jailed for drug possession earlier in the year.
"I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl," Rodman told NBC News on Monday (August 22).
He added: "I'm trying to go this week."
Rodman now has ditched his plans to visit Russia after he was strongly advised by US state officials to abandon the trip.
Spokesman for the State Department Ned Price said if the former NBA star went on his planned journey to visit Putin then he 'would not be travelling on behalf of the US government.'
"We believe that anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder those release efforts," Price said, as per the Daily Mail.
Rodman has since abandoned the trip.
Griner, 31, is currently behind bars after she was arrested at a Russian airport back in February for drug possession.
Police found cannabis oil cartridges in her luggage, which has since been confirmed to have contained less than a gram of THC.
She was subsequently found guilty during a politically charged trial and was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.
The WNBA star has since been languishing in a jail that has been likened to the Soviet Union's notorious gulag labour camps.
Griner's wife, Cherelle spoke to CNN about the situation back in July, revealing that her wife was forced into a 'very, very, very tiny cage' for every five-hour trip to court in Russia.
"It's really, really difficult. This is not a situation where the rhetoric is matching the action," Cherelle began.
She continued: "I do have to unfortunately push people to make sure that the things they're telling me are also matching their actions and so it's been the hardest thing to balance because I can't let up."
Rodman had hoped to negotiate Griner's release with the Russian President, who he has previously described as 'cool'.
Rodman has previously claimed he managed to negotiate the release of several US citizens detained in North Korea, including Christian missionary Kenneth Bae, according to reports by Time.
Rodman had hoped to replicate his success in North Korea in Russia.
Topics: News, US News, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Basketball