Rodman Apologizes for Remarks in North Korea
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman apologized early Thursday for comments he made about an American imprisoned in North Korea, citing stress and alcohol consumption as reasons for his outburst.
Rodman, who is in North Korea for a visit with the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, suggested during an interview with CNN that Kenneth Bae deserved to be imprisoned.
Although Rodman’s trip has been consumed with controversy since before it began, his tone-deaf remarks during the interview with Chris Cuomo set off a fresh torrent of criticism.
“I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae’s family. I want to apologize to my teammates and my management team. I embarrassed a lot of people. I’m very sorry. At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I’m truly sorry,” Rodman said in a statement released through his publicist.
Rodman added that some of the basketball players he had invited to accompany him to North Korea had dropped out of the trip because of pressure from friends and business associates, which caused him great stress.
“My dreams of basketball diplomacy was [sic] quickly falling apart. I had been drinking. It’s not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed. It's not an excuse, it’s just the truth.”
Bae’s family criticized Rodman after his bizarre interview, which aired Tuesday. Bae’s sister Terri Chung released a statement saying that Rodman “is playing games with my brother’s life. There is no diplomacy, only games, and at my brother’s expense.” (The Associated Press reported Thursday that Chung "welcomed" Rodman's apology.)
Bae, who was arrested in November 2012, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for so-called hostile acts against North Korea, though the regime has not acknowledged why exactly Bae is being held.
Although Rodman apologized for his comment, he remains in the rogue nation, where he is believed to be skiing Thursday at a newly built mountain resort.