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Dennis Rodman Angrily Defends Basketball Game in North Korea
Dennis Rodman defended a visit to North Korea with a team of former NBA players with a combative attitude of words Tuesday, according to CNN. Chris Cuomo of CNN’s “New Day” interviewed Rodman and continued pressing on the question if the basketball group should have traveled to the secretive state, considering the recent events happening there.
The former NBA players are in North Korea for a controversial basketball game for Kim Jong Un’s 31st birthday, which is believed to be on Wednesday. Recent events in North Korea shocked the world when the North Korean leader purged and executed his once powerful uncle. Also, there’s Kenneth Bae, the U.S. citizen being held there for more than a year.
When Rodman was asked if he would ask North Korean leaders about the Korean-American Bae, Rodman suggested Bae had done something wrong but didn’t say what it was. Kenneth Bae was arrested in November and found guilty of “hostile acts” and charged with attempts to destroy the government. Bae is a married father with three children. He has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
Cuomo continued to ask if the trip was a good idea, considering Bae was still being held captive, An agitated Rodman said, “Kenneth Bae did one thing, if you understand what Kenneth Bea did. Do you understand what he did in this country? No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why? I would love to speak on this.
A fellow player, Charles D. Smith spoke and tried to calm the situation, but Rodman became flustered and said the project he describes as “basketball diplomacy” and how “one day this door is going to open because these 10 guys here, all of us, if we could open the door just a little bit for people to come here and do one thing.”
Some of the players sitting directly behind Rodman as he ranted, looked increasingly uncomfortable as he challenged CNN’s Chris Cuomo. Smith apologized for “the storm that has been created by our presence.” “We’ve been doing these games for 3 1/2 years” he said “Outside of what people know of Dennis, you don’t know Dennis. He’s got a great heart, his passion is about children and families, and that’s why we are here.
A spokesman for the White House, Jay Carney said Rodman is on a private trip “and our views on Kenneth Bae have not changed. I did see some of the comments that Mr. Rodman made, but i am not going to dignify that outburst with a response,” Carney said. “I am simply going to say that we remain gravely concerned about Kenneth Bae’s health and continue to urge the DPRK authorities to grant his amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds.”
The U.S Department says it has nothing to do with Rodman’s trip to North Korea and the NBA said ” they are not involved with Mr. Rodman’s North Korea trip and would not participate or support such a venture according to NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Image Credit: Wnct.com