Brittney Griner is still imprisoned in Russia after she was found guilty on drug charges and is now serving a nine-year sentence in the country. The United States and Russia have been engaged in negotiations for quite a while to secure her release, but an unlikely source is now offering his help: boxing legend Roy Jones Jr.
Jones, who holds dual citizenship with the United States and Russia, told TMZ Sports that he is “trying to facilitate that situation” and has talked to his various government contacts – which he said includes aids and assistants to Russian president Vladimir Putin – to secure Griner’s release.
“When you can kind of talk to both sides it’s a beautiful thing,” Jones said. “Somebody has to have connections or that poor girl’s going to be lost with no chance to get back home. I don’t like seeing nobody in that situation. If that was my daughter, I’d want anybody that has any connections to do anything they could to get her back home.”
Jones acknowledged the potential for a prisoner swap between the two countries and even volunteered to participate in the exchange, if necessary.
“I know what that girl’s family is going through right now, and I feel for them. Would I put my life on the line, take a chance to go to Russia to exchange prisoners? Yes, I would,” Jones said. “Why? Because if it was my daughter, I would want somebody to do the same thing for me.”
Jones is not the first prominent athlete volunteering to go to Russia to negotiate Griner’s return – former NBA star Dennis Rodman did the same last month. However, the U.S. shot that talk down and warned people not currently associated with the State Department not to get involved.