Roy Jones Jr Plans To Go To ‘Mr. Putin’ To Help Release Detained WNBA Star Brittney Griner
Roy Jones Jr is joining in on the efforts of bringing home WNBA star Brittney Griner.
Jones was personally awarded Russian citizenship by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015, and said he hopes to use that to help secure the release of Griner, who has been detained by Russia since February.
“Right now, I’m hearing they’re trying to do a prisoner swap,” Jones told LVSportsBiz.com.
“If they do the prisoner swap, that will be good. If the prisoner swap does not work then you have to understand that I’m a diplomatic type of person. I don’t get into politics, but my friends are my friends.”
Griner was detained by Russian customs after vaporizer (vape) cartridges – containing less than a gram of hashish oil – were found in her luggage. She was arrested on drug charges and pled guilty during her trial.
In August, the star WNBA player was sentenced to nine years in prison with a fine of 1 million rubles, which is about $16,300.
Also in August, it was revealed that Russia’s foreign ministry and the U.S. were negotiating a prisoner swap, which would include a trade for Viktor bout, a convicted arms dealer who is serving a 25-year sentence for conspiring to kill Americans in 2011.
But there doesn’t seem to be any progress.
“If this doesn’t work I will go to Mr. Putin myself,” Jones added.
Jones has previously defended Putin, describing the president as “misunderstood.”
“I feel like because of my relationship knowing Putin like that, I owe it to her and her family, to my country here to go ask him if she’ll get out with a prisoner swap,” Jones said.