Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons was active on Twitter Thursday morning after WNBA star Brittney Griner was released after months of detention in Russia.
After Griner was sent back to the U.S. in exchange for Russian arms dealer Victor Booth — known by some as the “Death Merchant” — Parsons took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the deal.
“Hang on! Did we leave the Marine Corps?!! Hell no,” Parsons wrote in response to news that Marine Paul Whelan, who has been in Russian custody for four years, was not included in the exchange.
President Joe Biden sent a message from his @POTUS Twitter account with a photo of himself talking to Griner, writing: “I spoke with Brittney Griner a few minutes ago. It is safe. He’s on a plane. He is going home.’
Parsons didn’t seem amused by the news.
“We still won’t vote for you!” Parsons tweeted a quote from Biden’s message.
The exchange prompted many to discuss Parsons’ political views online. The 23-year-old went into damage control mode, deleting his original response to Biden and sending another message shortly after.
“My last tweet was not about Brittney Griner. I’m so glad he’s back home the way he should be,” Parsons wrote. “I have family that served, and it’s crazy to me that the President won’t bring him home as well.” “I’m far from a Trump supporter, but I’m not a Biden fan either.”
He then pushed back on his statements even further.
“I have spoken to some people I respect and trust. I should have been more informed on this subject and not tweeting emotionally for my family and others who have served.” Parsons wrote. “I apologize for that. Also, if what I’ve been told about the efforts to bring Ret Marine Paul Whelan home is correct, then the best has been achieved. I pray for Mr. Whelan to come home, but I am so happy for Brittney and her family. I’m not proud to admit when I’m wrong.”
Parsons is in the midst of a possible Defensive Player of the Year season for the Cowboys, who are 9-3 and well positioned for the playoffs. Parsons has 12 sacks and three forced fumbles and ranks No. 1 in defensive tackle DVOA by Dallas Football Outsiders.
The linebacker wasn’t the only high-profile athlete to criticize the US government for the switch. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, who hosts “Boomer & Gio” on WFAN, responded to Parsons’ original tweet on air Thursday and shared a similar sentiment.
“I’ll tell you, there are more people who don’t feel that way than those who don’t,” Esiason said. “I can tell that right now. I know we’re all excited to have Brittney home like we said earlier. But when you think about the trade we made to get a WNBA professional athlete back and a Marine whose family has been trying to get her out of there for years, for nothing by the US government.
“I feel like the Russians used her to take this guy out. It’s not an equal exchange – it’s not. We all know what happened to Brittney, it should never have happened. But man, we look so pathetic “Listening to the President’s speech about this is a very sad feeling. I want to be happy, but I can’t be.”