NFL star Micah Parsons has walked back his initial criticism of the prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Russia that resulted in Brittney Griner's freedom.
On Thursday (December 8) morning, news broke that the WNBA star, who has been detained in Russia on drug charges since February, had been released in a one-for-one prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout, per NBC News.
"Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner. She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home," President Joe Biden tweeted alongside photos of himself, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the Phoenix Mercury guard's wife, Cherelle Griner, in the Oval Office.
Though the one-for-one exchange leaves former U.S. marine Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence after being accused of spying, detained in Russia, Biden said Thursday that the administration is still actively working to secure his release.
"I'm proud that today we have made one more family whole," Biden said. "We’ll keep negotiating for Paul’s relief. I guarantee it."
Yet, Parsons was immediately critical of the President's geopolitical negotiation with Russia.
"Wait nah!! We left a marine?!! Hell nah," Parsons tweeted in response to the news that Whelan would remain in Russian prison as Griner heads home.
In a now-deleted tweet, the Dallas Cowboys linebacker replied to Biden's official announcement of Griner's release, saying "Still not voting for you."
Parsons further explained his criticism in a follow-up statement.
"My last tweet was no shot at Brittney Griner. I’m super happy she’s back home as she should be. I just have family who have served and it’s crazy to me the President wouldn’t bring him home too. I’m the furthest thing from a trump supporter but I’m not a fan of Biden either," Parsons tweeted.
The star LB immediately received backlash for his commentary, which he just as quickly walked back.
"Just spoke to some people that I respect and trust. I should have been more educated on the topic and not tweeted out of emotion for my family and other who have served. For that I apologize," Parsons tweeted Thursday. "Also if what I’m told about the attempts to bring Ret Marine Paul Whelan home are true then the best outcome was accomplished. I pray Mr. Whelan comes home but am extremely happy for Brittney and her family. I am not too prideful to admit when I’ve made a mistake."
Following the news of Griner's release, Whelan's family spoke out in support of the prisoner swap.
"There is no greater success than for a wrongful detainee to be freed & for them to go home, the family said in a statement, per Fox News' Nick Kalman. "The Biden Admin made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, & to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn't going to..”