Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has come under fire for his relationship with and support of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in recent months, and while the Hall of Famer has largely been defiant, he apologized for some of his recent actions.
Rodman outraged many when he seemed to speak out in favor of Kim Jong-un's decision to punish American Kenneth Bae, according to CNN's Jethro Mullen, but Rodman attributed it to the fact that he had been drinking and was under a lot of stress, as seen in this video courtesy of CNN.com.
Mullen also provided a transcript of Rodman's apology, which came in a statement released by his publicist, Jules Feiler:
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.
I had been drinking. It's not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed.
Bae has been held in North Korea since 2012 after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for "hostile acts against the state." Bae's guilt has never been proven, and there is an obvious desire among Americans for him to released, but Rodman snapped at CNN's Chris Cuomo when asked about the situation on Jan. 7. Here is Mullen's description of the exchange:
"Do you understand what he did in this country?" Rodman asked Cuomo. "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," Rodman said, before abruptly switching topic to talk about how his fellow basketball players had left their families behind to come to North Korea for the exhibition game.
Rodman has received plenty of criticism for his bizarre friendship with Kim Jong-un, and it took another strange twist on Jan. 8 when Rodman and a number of other former NBA players competed in an exhibition basketball game against North Korean players to honor the young dictator on his birthday.
Many had hoped that Rodman would use the exhibition as a form of diplomacy, but he instead bowed before Kim Jong-un and even sang a strange rendition of "Happy Birthday" for the dictator as seen in this CNN.com video.
One prominent person who is particularly disgusted by the display is famous ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale. Dickie V expressed dismay with Rodman's antics on Twitter.
Rodman has always marched to the beat of his own drum, so perhaps this entire landscape shouldn't come as a big surprise, but the backlash will only continue to grow as long as Rodman continues to kowtow to Kim Jong-un rather than pressing for real change.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter