Former NBA All-Star turned cultural exchange leader Dennis Rodman issued an apology overnight for his much-criticized outburst earlier this week about an American citizen detained in North Korea.
Rodman is apologizing for this unintelligible and apparently drunken rant on CNN's New Day. He incited public outrage after suggesting that American missionary Kenneth Bae may have done something to deserve his 15-year hard labor sentence handed down by the North Korean government. (Via CNN, NBC)
In a statement issued by Rodman's publicist, the retired basketball star says he was having a "very stressful" day and had been drinking before the interview.
"I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae's family ... I had been drinking. It's not an excuse but by the time the interview happened, I was upset. I was overwhelmed ... At this point, I should know better than to make political statements. I'm truly sorry." (Via CBS)
The statement goes on to say Rodman was distraught because some of his teammates were leaving North Korea because of "pressure from their families and business associates," and that his dream of "basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart."
Rodman and his team of retired NBA players have drawn criticism from human rights activists, who have questioned his cozy relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — something Rodman played down during his CNN interview. (Via Vice )
However, on Wednesday Rodman was filmed leading a North Korean stadium in a bizarre, throaty performance of the Happy Birthday song to the now 31-year-old dictator. (Via Fox News)
Bae's sister says that Rodman was "in a position to do some good" and advocate for Bae, but has refused to do so.
"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 [Bae's family] were appalled by that." (Via CNN)
Bae has been detained in North Korea since November 2012 when he was arrested and convicted of crimes against the state. The U.S. State Department says it is doing everything it can to free Bae, but no progress has been made.