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After North Korea, emotional Dennis Rodman urges no politics for a day

By Megha Rajagopalan

(Reuters) - Retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman appealed on Monday for the world to set aside politics, if only for a day, as he arrived in China from North Korea where he sparked an outcry with comments over an American imprisoned there.

The 52-year-old angered many people in the United States with an interview last week in which he implied that Kenneth Bae, a U.S. missionary imprisoned by North Korea, was to blame for his incarceration rather than authorities there.

Rodman, who calls himself a friend of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, apologized for the comments made during his visit to North Korea with a group of fellow U.S. basketball players.

Rodman was met by a throng of media as he made his way, flanked by burly bodyguards, through the airport terminal to a waiting car.

"I want to tell people that no matter what's going on in the world, for one day, just one day, not politics, not all this stuff," he said.

"I'm not the president, I'm not an ambassador, I'm Dennis Rodman, just an individual, just showing the world a fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day."

He then appeared to be overcome with emotion and seemed to start crying as he moved away from the media, repeating "I'm sorry".

Rodman expressed regret over the interview on Thursday in which he implied Bae was to blame for his imprisonment, saying he had been feeling emotional after drinking.

Bae, 45, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for state subversion in North Korea, where he was detained in 2012 while leading a tour group. North Korea's Supreme Court said he used his tourism business to form groups aimed at overthrowing the government.

On Monday, Rodman expressed his thanks to "the Marshal", which is Kim's official title, for enabling his visit.

"It's amazing that I had the opportunity just to go to North Korea, and for the Marshal to give me an opportunity just to be in his presence in the city," he said. "This is not a bad deal."

Rodman had staged a basketball match in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, to commemorate Kim's birthday, drawing the ire of human rights activists. He also visited a ski resort in the isolated state.

Rodman led a chorus of North Koreans in a rendition of "Happy Birthday" to Kim.

The fading basketball star's trips had previously been financed by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, although it has now withdrawn its funding.

Rodman Apologizes for Not Helping US Missionary

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sallywieck January 13 2014 at 10:10 PM

Dennis said he wanted to show the world unity for one day which, by the way, didnt include American Kenneth Bae. He was not part of the "unity". To sing happy birthday and celebrate Kim Jong Un is unforgiveable. It is horrific. Bae, a man of the cloth, was suffering horribly all the time Rodman was feasting on the "glory" of his new found friends in North Korea. Dennis Rodman is displaying behavior no less than a traitor to the United States of America and should be treated as such. He should be arrested, tried and punished to the full extent of the law. We spend millions of dollars trying to do the same thing to Snowden and Assange yet this man walks free. Shame on us.

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2 replies
ibsunny1 sallywieck January 13 2014 at 10:26 PM

absolutely 100% right.

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tryman7 sallywieck January 13 2014 at 10:49 PM

I understand how you feel but may be Rodman could have softened Kim up a bit and helped the situation please keep an open mind .I am not a Dove but anything that works is good.

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chiefpnc January 13 2014 at 4:28 PM

Just another Jane Fonda

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seagrovejudy January 13 2014 at 4:27 PM

Anyone who folllws basketball knows that Rodman has always been an idiot. Why should that change now?

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ssteve54 January 13 2014 at 4:27 PM

this moron is just lucky kim hasn't decided to keep him in prison for no reason or maybe execute him. he is fooling with a sick and demented individual. he thinks he actually has a friend. rodman needs help desperatly

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Kim Davis January 13 2014 at 4:26 PM

He needs to stay in North Korea.

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CHUCKIE January 13 2014 at 4:24 PM

Once an idiot, always an idiot...

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mmmsair January 13 2014 at 4:21 PM

This is the same thing as if some sports people had tried to be friends with Adolf Hitler. Someone needs to understand that integrity and hope all come from people who are willing to make boundaries. If this man feels he is friends with a cold hearted murderer, then he needs to admit this. Say "I am best friends with someone who kills on a whim and who wouldn't let the peasants even be in the audience with something as simple as a basketball game." Stop justifying and just read those words, Dennis. No different from being friends with Adolf.

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dhartson January 13 2014 at 4:18 PM

Jest another JERK !!!!!!

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RouteUS66Busload January 13 2014 at 10:30 PM

Shady reasons. Too difficult to explain.

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grimesgm January 13 2014 at 4:17 PM

Revoke the Jerk's passport

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1 reply
kwrohan grimesgm January 13 2014 at 4:26 PM

Right - that's what places like North Korea do when one of their citizens says things they don't like. What next? Put him in a work camp to completely shut him up?

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