Rodman Apologizes for Rant Over American Missionary Sentenced to Hard Labor in North Korea

RodmanRetired basketball Hall of Fame legend Dennis Rodman has apologized for his rant this week on CNN’s New Day, where he was asked if during his visit to North Korea he would be a voice for an American missionary serving 15 years hard labor in the country.

As previously reported, the interview, televised on Tuesday, featured ten men who had traveled with Rodman to play a basketball game against a North Korean team per the invitation of the DPRK. At one point, host Chris Cuomo directly asked Rodman if he would speak out for the missionary if he had the chance.

“Are you going to take an opportunity—if you get it—to speak up for the family of Kenneth Bae to say, ‘Let us know why this man is being held. This is wrong; he is sick,’” Cuomo inquired. “If you can help him, will you take the opportunity?”

“Watch this. The one thing about politics, Kenneth Bae did one thing. If you understand—if you understand what Kenneth Bae did—Do you understand what he did in this country?” Rodman asked.

“What did he do?” Cuomo inquired. “You tell me.”

“No, no, no, no! You tell me! You tell me!” Rodman declared. “Why is he held captive?”

“They haven’t released any charges,” Cuomo replied. “They haven’t released any reason.”

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Rodman then defended the reason why the team traveled to North Korea, and began yelling at Cuomo and using profanity, telling him that he doesn’t care what the news anchor thinks.

“They came here!” he exclaimed, his voice still elevated. “They came here!”

“You just basically were saying that Kenneth Bae did something wrong,” Cuomo replied calmly. “We don’t even know what the charges are.”

“You can hide behind the mic right now,” Rodman asserted, holding a cigar. “We are the guys here doing one thing. We have to go back to America and take the abuse. Do you have to take the abuse? We gonna take it.”

On Thursday, Rodman issued an apology surrounding his behavior, stating that alcohol and stress contributed to his outburst.

“I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae’s family,” he wrote in a statement released by his publicist. “I want to apologize to my teammates and my management team. I also want to apologize to Chris Cuomo.”

“I had been drinking,” Rodman continued. “It’s not an excuse, but by the time the interview happened, I was upset. I was overwhelmed.”

“I embarrassed a lot of people,” he stated. “I’m very sorry. At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I’m truly sorry.”

Terri Chung, sister of Kenneth Bae, also released a statement on Thursday, advising that she forgives Rodman. She also reiterated her desire for her brother’s release.

“As Rodman has stated, being drunk and stressed is not an excuse for what he said, but we acknowledge he is human and we all do make mistakes,” Chung said. “Our greatest concern remains the health and freedom of my brother Kenneth. We hope and pray that Rodman’s comments and ongoing antics have not further endangered my brother. Kenneth’s health and freedom are precarious.”

As previously reported, Bae, who operates a tourist company in Washington state, was arrested not far from the city of Yanji in November 2012, where some Christian groups provide aid to North Korean refugees. He was sentenced to 15 years hard labor, and has been reportedly struggling with his health over the past year as his family has made several pleas for his release.


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  • Sir Tainly

    One point, then another.

    #1. If Rodman had come out and condemned North Korea for the treatment of this American citizen it may well have led to Kenneth Bae’s death, not to mention imminent danger for everyone on the basketball trip. The reporter’s question was very ill-advised for this reason.

    #2. Rodman bemoaned the “pressure” his basketball diplomats would face here in the U.S. He is wrong I’d guess with near certainty. I’m thinking that most of the “pressure” these basketball diplomats are facing has to do with the fact that the people that love them are concerned that they are doing this exhibition game in the most repressive country on earth run by a complete mad man.