Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has apologized for an outburst during a CNN interview that has been widely covered by the media and provoked outrage in Washington.
CNN reports that Rodman "apologized Thursday for his much-criticized outburst about an American citizen imprisoned in North Korea, saying he was stressed out and had been drinking when he made the remarks on CNN."
The interview drew an especially harsh response from John McCain, as we reported previously. You can click here to see a video of the original CNN interview of Rodman by Chris Cuomo.
"The eccentric basketball veteran is in North Korea for a controversial visit that has been rife with bizarre moments, including Rodman’s rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to the country’s leader Kim Jong Un at a packed sports stadium on Wednesday," CNN reports. "In an exclusive interview Tuesday with Chris Cuomo of CNN’s ‘New Day,’ Rodman provoked outrage by appearing to suggest that Kenneth Bae, who has been held in North Korea since 2012, may have done something to deserve his sentence of 15 years of hard labor."
In a statement released today by his publicist Jules Feiler, Rodman reportedly said: "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."
CNN adds: "Rodman attributed his outburst to stress. ‘I embarrassed a lot of people,’ said Rodman, who traveled to North Korea with other former NBA players for a basketball game against a North Korean team. ‘I’m very sorry. At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I’m truly sorry.’"
Bae’s family said earlier in the week that it was shocked by Rodman’s comments, the CNN report notes. Bae’s sister Terri Chung said Tuesday: "He was in a position to do some good and to help advocate for Kenneth. He refused to do so. But then instead he has chosen to hurl these outrageous accusations against Kenneth. He clearly doesn’t know anything about Kenneth, about his case. And so we were appalled by that."
Rodman said the day of the interview had been "very stressful," CNN notes.
"Some of my teammates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates," Rodman said. He added that his dream of "basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart."
Rodman added: "I had been drinking. It’s not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed."