Thursday morning brought some unexpected good news when it was announced the U.S. and Russia had agreed to a prisoner swap that would bring WNBA star Brittney Griner home after nearly a full year in Russian custody, with arms dealer Viktor Bout being sent back to Moscow in exchange.
There was a celebratory atmosphere across the world of sports, as Griner’s detention for the minor offense of having hashish oil cartridges in her luggage has been a dark cloud over basketball and only exacerbated tensions between the United States and Russia. However, some chose to express frustration rather than celebrate the swap the Biden administration agreed to, as it meant U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who has been in Russian custody for four years, was staying there. Cowboys star linebacker Micah Parsons was among those, as his tweets following the Griner news breaking became quite the talking point online.
Many were quick to point out to Parsons that he needed to study up a bit more on the situation, with his mentions being flooded with replies linking to the Whelan family’s statement, which noted their disappointment that Paul remained in Russia but commended the administration for getting a deal done rather than waiting for one that would never be available.
NEW from the Whelan family: "There is no greater success than for a wrongful detainee to be freed & for them to go home. 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..”
— Nick Kalman (@NickKalmanFN) December 8, 2022
Parsons also invited a ton of jokes in his mentions and quote tweets, as he got labeled “Pass Rush Limbaugh,” “Blitz Romney,” and more — with Pass Rush Limbaugh literally becoming a trending topic with him on Twitter.
That’s never what you want, and unsurprisingly Parsons tweeted out an apology later noting that he had spoken with people he trusted and further educated himself on the situation, noting his initially tweet was “out of emotion.”
It’s honestly a good lesson to us all in these situations where we are encouraged to have a take immediately about a lot of things that are incredibly complex that it’s often best just to not tweet. Parsons quickly learned that lesson as someone with a massive platform, and as he noted in his apology, this was the best that could be done in the situation based on all the reporting available to us publicly. Matters of foreign diplomacy, particularly those involving a regime like in Russia that’s not friendly with the U.S., are quite delicate and complicated, and even if you’re one of the best players in the NFL, it’s just an area well outside most of our expertise.
That said, Pass Rush Limbaugh is some inspired work from the internet and that’s something we can all enjoy.