DALLAS — Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons has issued an apology on Twitter following a series of tweets related to the Brittney Griner release, which was announced by President Joe Biden Thursday morning.
Griner, who had been arrested since February, was exchanged for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Following the news of Griner's release, the Cowboys linebacker sent two tweets: one referencing former Marine Paul Whelan who has yet to be released or included in a prisoner swap, and the other in response to Biden saying "we still not voting for you."
Parsons tweets went viral, garnering thousands of retweets and became a trending topic. His tweet response to Biden has since been deleted.
Nearly an hour and a half later Thursday morning, Parsons tweeted again, saying his previous tweet referencing Whelan was "no shot at Brittney Griner" and he's "super happy she's back home as she should be." Parsons also mentioned his family's military background and said "it’s crazy to me the President wouldn’t bring him home too."
Just after 9 a.m. Thursday, Parsons issued the following apology:
"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. 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."
In Biden's announcement of Griner's release on Thursday, he said he tried to bring Whelan back home, too, but said Russia is treating his case differently.
“We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan, who’s been unjustly detained in Russia for years,” the president said in an address shortly after news of Griner’s release broke. “This was not a choice of which American to bring home. We brought home Trevor Reed when we had the chance earlier this year. Sadly, for illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s."
David Whelan, Paul's brother, said the family was warned in advance of the news. The Whelan family said the Biden administration “made the right decision” in agreeing to a prisoner exchange that Griner but they are “devastated” that Paul Whelan remains behind.
As the family member of a Russian hostage, I can literally only imagine the joy she will have, being reunited with her loved ones, and in time for the holidays,” David Whelan said in a statement. “There is no greater success than for a wrongful detainee to be freed and for them to go home. The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen.”
Biden said he’s keeping in close touch with Whelan’s family and said they’re not giving up and won’t ever give up.
“My thoughts and prayers are with them today,” Biden added. “They must have such mixed emotions today and we’ll keep negotiating in good faith for Paul’s release. I guarantee that. I say that to the family. I guarantee you. I urge Russia to do the same to ensure Paul’s health and humane treatment are maintained until we are able to bring them home.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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