Dennis Rodman says he won't return to North Korea
Embattled former star is frustrated with criticism of his trip to visit Kim Jong Un, but diplomacy experts fear he may have done more harm than good.
Dennis Rodman told ESPN in an interview this week that if "we don't want" him to go back to North Korea, he won't. Rodman was defensive of his trip to the dictatorship to visit Kim Jong Un which included a celebrity basketball game featuring former NBA players and which saw Rodman sing "Happy Birthday" to the dictator.
"I wish they understood the whole purpose of why I went to North Korea," Rodman said. "I wish they did."
Sporting a black canvas-like fedora with black feathers in the back and a pair of large-lense, white-framed sunglasses with a nose ring in each nostril, another ring looped around his lower lip and at least one ring in his left ear, Rodman, also wrapped in several bright neck scarves, wondered: "What makes me so damn bad? What makes me this bad, awful person?"
"At least someone tried," Rodman said. "So that's how I look at it. You know, I don't want to be a hero, I don't want to be this, I don't want to be that. I just wanted to be, just do happy things and do great things in life. That's all I wanted to do. That's it."
"I don't want people to look at me as the devil or evil person," Rodman told ESPN. "If I put anyone in harm's way, I apologize, you know."
Then waving his hands in a circle at the camera, Rodman said, "If you don't want me to go back there ever again, I won't go back."
Rodman appeared on CNN and had a total meltdown over criticism of the trip and whether Rodman had pushed for the release of Kenneth Bae. He later apologized for his outburst. He entered rehab as soon as he got back to the United States.
Former U.N. Embassador Bill Richardson criticized Rodman's trip this week, saying it interfered with diplomacy efforts.
Former Detroit Pistons star Dennis Rodman may have been the man on the basketball court, but in the court of diplomacy – he gets an “F” from former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson.
Richardson, former governor of New Mexico, is involved in global diplomatic efforts including helping free Americans wrongly held in other countries.
He talked about an American tour operator name named Kennth Bae who is now jailed in North Korea.
Bae, 45, a devout Christian, was arrested in November 2012 and later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly importing “inflammatory” material.
“I tried to meet with the (Korean) president but the only American he met with is Dennis,” said Richardson during taping of “Michigan Matters.”
Richardson was in North Korea trying to gain Bae’s release while Rodman was in North Korea in January.
“I tried to connect with him (Rodman) but he didn’t call back,” said Richardson who added he could have double teamed with Rodman in the effort.
Oh, and to top it all off, Reuters reports that a group of experts is concerned Rodman may have violated U.N. Sanctions on the controversial nation.
A group of United Nations sanctions experts has been investigating former basketball star Dennis Rodman because of gifts he brought to North Korea during his visits to the reclusive state, according to an excerpt from the group's latest report.
While the U.N. Panel of Experts, an independent body that monitors compliance with the United Nations' North Korea sanctions regime, did not explicitly accuse Rodman of violating the U.N. ban on luxury goods, it suggested his actions may have represented a breach of international restrictions on Pyongyang.
"The panel also investigated allegations that Dennis Rodman and his party may have taken luxury items as gifts when he visited Pyongyang in September and December 2013 and January 2014," the experts' unpublished report says.
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