- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dennis Rodman apologized Thursday for implying on national television that dictator Kim Jong-un had good reasons for imprisoning American Kenneth Bae for 15 years, saying that he had been drinking and was stressed.

Mr. Rodman sent the message through his publicist Jules Feiler, who emailed The Associated Press.

“I want to apologize to Kenneth Bae’s family,” he said, explaining he had “a very stressful day” when he made the comments. “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.”

He also added, CBS reported: “At this point, I should know better than to make political statements. I’m truly sorry.”

During a Tuesday interview on CNN, Mr. Rodman had suggested that Mr. Bae — sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for unclear charges related to his distribution of religious materials in the atheist nation — may have been rightly imprisoned.

Mr. Bae’s family expressed shock and outrage at the remarks, saying on Wednesday that Mr. Rodman may actually be causing diplomatic damage. Mr. Bae’s sister said to CBS: “Clearly, [Rodman‘s] uninformed and doesn’t know anything about Kenneth or his detainment. I don’t think he has any authority to speak or pass judgment on Kenneth, certainly.”

Mr. Rodman issued the apology from North Korea, where he had just completed a basketball game with 11 American teammates, in honor of Mr. Kim’s birthday. Mr. Rodman sparked fire with that event, also: He crooned a happy birthday song to Mr. Kim prior to the game’s start, bowing and calling the despot, once again, his good “friend.”

On Thursday, Mr. Rodman was headed to a North Korean ski resort — possibly with Mr. Kim, CBS reported.



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