Dennis Rodman apologizes for Kenneth Bae comments
NBA Hall of Famer says he was drinking when he lashed out at a CNN anchor and defended detainment of Kenneth Bae.
NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman apologized Thursday for his comments earlier in the week regarding detained American Kenneth Bae during his visit to North Korea.
"I want to apologize," Rodman said. "I take full responsibility for my actions. It had been a very stressful day. Some of my teammates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates. My dreams of basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart. I had been drinking. It's not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed. It's not an excuse, it's just the truth.
"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."
Rodman is in North Korea visiting leader Kim Jong-Un, whom Rodman has developed a friendship with in recent years. Rodman put together a celebrity basketball game in the country starring former NBA players and sang "Happy Birthday" to the leader earlier this week. In an interview with CNN earlier this week, Rodman defended the North Korean government's decision to hold Bae indefinitely.
Bae's family spoke out this week on Rodman's comments, and the U.S. State Department has weighed in as well.
"Here's somebody who is in a position to do some good for Kenneth and refuses to do so," Chung told KOMO Radio in Seattle on Wednesday. "And then after the fact, instead, he decides to hurl these unqualified accusations against Kenneth. It's clear he has no idea what he's talking about. I'm not sure who he's talking to, where he's getting his information, but he's certainly no authority on Kenneth Bae."
The U.S. State Department distanced itself from Rodman and said it did not want to "dignify" his activities or comments in Pyongyang by commenting on them. But spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the department was open to speaking with Rodman on his return.
"We have not reached out to him. We've said before, if he wants to reach out to us, we're happy to hear from him and what he has to say," she told reporters.
NBA commissioner David Stern distanced himself and the NBA from Rodman's activities as well.
"The NBA is not involved with Mr. Rodman's North Korea trip and would not participate or support such a venture without the approval of the U.S. State Department," Stern said in a statement. "Although sports in many instances can be helpful in bridging cultural divides, this is not one of them."
Cliff Robinson is one of the former NBA players with Rodman for the event. In comments to TMZ, Robinson's wife expressed embarrassment on behalf of her husband for Rodman's comments.
Cliff Robinson -- one of the ex-NBA stars who's in North Korea with Dennis Rodman -- knows his trip has turned into an international "train wreck" and expects serious backlash when he returns to the U.S. ... so says his wife.
TMZ Sports spoke with Heather Robinson -- who's appeared on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" -- and she tells us her husband initially agreed to join Rodman because he thought he could help "bridge cultural differences with basketball."
"The look on Cliff's face when Dennis was talking during the CNN interview, it was pure shock and confusion ... it's the look he used to give when a referee used to make a bad call."
Heather says Cliff and the rest of the players have heard the criticism -- but she wants everyone to know, "In his heart, [Cliff] did this thinking it was a good idea. He thought he was doing something good."
Rodman and the team are scheduled to return back to the United States on Friday.
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