Former basketball star Dennis Rodman apologized on Monday for not being able to help an American missionary detained in North Korea during his trip there to play in a game to celebrate the birthday of leader Kim Jong-un.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't do anything," Rodman told media on his arrival at Beijing airport from a week long trip. "It's not my fault. I'm sorry. I just want to do some good stuff. That's all I want to do."
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Rodman and the squad of retired NBA players he took to North Korea for an exhibition game marking Kim's birthday have met with criticism in the U.S. because of North Korea's human rights record and its development of nuclear weapons.
Rodman apologized last week for comments he made about Kenneth Bae, who has been detained for more than a year for "anti-state crimes." He had implied that Bae was at fault in a CNN interview.
Basketball diplomacy trip 'not a bad deal'
Rodman apologized for the interview via a statement through publicist Jules Feiler in an email message to The Associated Press.
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"I want to apologize," Rodman said. "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."
On Monday, Rodman reiterated that his trip — in which he sang Happy Birthday to Kim before playing the exhibition game at a Pyongyang stadium — was one of goodwill.
"This is not a bad deal," he said. "I want to show people that no matter what's going on in the world, for one day, just one day, no politics, not all that stuff.
"I'm sorry for all the people and what's going on, I'm sorry," he continued. "I'm not the president, I'm not an ambassador, I'm just an individual that wants to show the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day."
Rodman and Kim struck up a friendship when the former first travelled to the secretive state last year.