North Korea visitor and former NBA star Dennis Rodman apologized through his PR firm today after defending in a CNN interview the country's hard labor detention of an American citizen, Kenneth Bae.
"I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae's family," Rodman said through his New York agency, The Pitching Staff PR, adding apologies to his teammates, management and CNN host 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's statement said he had been drinking and that he was upset that his "dreams of basketball diplomacy was [sic] quickly falling apart."
Bae, a tour operator in the country, was arrested in November 2012 for unspecified crimes and hit with a 15-year hard labor sentence.
Rodman, who forged a friendship with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un and is visiting the country for a basketball exhibition, on CNN Jan. 8 suggested Bae's detention was justified: "If you understand what Kenneth Bae did … Do you understand what he did in this country? Why is he held captive in this country? I would love to speak on this."
Bae's family ripped Rodman's remarks. "There is nothing diplomatic about his trip,” Bae's sister, Terry Chung, said in a statement. “My family and I are outraged by Rodman’s recent comments. He is playing games with my brother’s life. There is no diplomacy, only games, and at my brother’s expense."
Pitching Staff PR is the firm of 5W PR and Morris + King Company alum Jules Feiler.
Joe Honick, GMA International Ltd (Jan. 9, 2014): What I really think of Rodman you cannot print. What I also think is wonderment that you would use this important space for someone who abets a murderer...a murderer who would never permit a free press.