Dennis Rodman apologizes for on-air outburst
Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman issued an apology Thursday for his on-air outburst earlier this week in an interview with CNN about his controversial trip to North Korea this month.
According to the report on Thursday from Jethro Mullen of CNN, Rodman issued a statement via his publicist and admitted to being stressed out and drinking when he made the remarks.
On Tuesday, Rodman had done an interview via satellite from North Korea with CNN’s Chris Cuomo in the U.S. and was asked whether he would speak to North Korea’s officials about American Kenneth Bae, who has been held captive in North Korea since 2012. Rodman said in response that no one knows what Bae did to deserve being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor and that he traveled to the country with other former NBA players this month not to make political statements but instead to simply help bridge hostile relations between the two countries through basketball.
When pressed by Cuomo to rethink his position, Rodman said, “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell you think.”
On Thursday, the 52-year-old apologized to Bae’s family:
“I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae’s family. I want to apologize to my teammates and my management team. I also want to apologize to Chris Cuomo…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…I had been drinking. It’s not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed.”
Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, spoke out against Rodman on Tuesday following his controversial remarks, saying he missed a prime opportunity to help her brother, according to the CNN report:
“He was in a position to do some good and to help advocate for Kenneth. He refused to do so. But then instead he has chosen to hurl these outrageous accusations against Kenneth. He clearly doesn’t know anything about Kenneth, about his case. And so we were appalled by that.”
Rodman said he was stressed before the interview in part because several of the players that went to the country with him had left early under mounting pressure from their families and business associates to rethink the trip. Rodman admitted that his dream of “basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart.”
The five-time NBA champion has made several trips to the country over the past year, most recently this month in order to play in an exhibition game against North Koreans during Kim Jong-Un’s birthday, a man Rodman has called a “friend for life.”
Footage of Rodman’s interview earlier this week on CNN: