PYONGYANG, North Korea (CNN) — Dennis Rodman apologized to Kenneth Bae’s family Thursday for his remarks about the Washington state man who has been imprisoned in North Korea for the past 14 months.
In an interview Tuesday with CNN, Rodman — who was in North Korea with other former NBA players for a game with North Korean players — was asked if he should be in that country considering recent events in North Korea and the fact that Bae, a U.S. citizen who was arrested in North Korea, convicted last spring by North Korea of “hostile acts” intended to topple the government and sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp.
In response, Rodman suggested the Korean-American from Lynnwood, Wash., had done something wrong, but did not specify what.
“Do you understand what he did in this country?” Rodman asked CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
“You tell me, what did he do?” Cuomo asked.
“No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me,” Rodman said. “Why is he held captive here in this country, why? … I would love to speak on this.”
Cuomo encouraged him to elaborate, but Rodman declined.
Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, said in an interview with Q13 FOX News late Tuesday that Rodman’s remarks were outrageous.
“It’s one thing to play games with his own image, but this is not a game, this is a man’s life,” Chung said.
“He has refused to help, that’s his choice, but instead he has chosen to make these outrageous accusations that he clearly doesn’t know anything about,” she added.
She said her brother was in North Korea legally working as a tour operator. She hoped one of the former basketball players would take a chance to ask for amnesty for him.
On Thursday, Rodman’s publicist released a statement from Rodman apologizing for his comments:
“I want to apologize. 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.”