McCain calls Dennis Rodman an ‘idiot’ following comments on Lynnwood man imprisoned in North Korea

Jan 8, 2014, 7:52 AM | Updated: 9:32 am
Dennis Rodman sings Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, before an exhibition basketball game at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) Dennis Rodman sings Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, before an exhibition basketball game with U.S. and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) Dennis Rodman, right, holds the ball near fellow U.S. player Jerry Dupree during an exhibition basketball game between U.S. and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) Dennis Rodman, right, walks with fellow U.S. players Jerry Dupree, center, and Charles D. Smith during an exhibition basketball game with U.S. and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) Dennis Rodman, center, pauses with the ball during an exhibition basketball game with U.S. and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) U.S. and North Korean basketball players raise their hands to the crowd after an exhibition game held at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman came to the North Korean capital with a team of U.S. basketball stars for an exhibition game on the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) Dennis Rodman waves to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, after singing Happy Birthday to Kim before an exhibition basketball game with U.S. and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) Dennis Rodman bows to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, before an exhibition basketball game with U.S. and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) Dennis Rodman waves after singing Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, before an exhibition basketball game with U.S. and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) Dennis Rodman bows to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, after singing Happy Birthday to Kim before an exhibition basketball game with U.S. and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Dennis Rodman waits for the elevator as he arrives at his hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea after a morning practice session on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Rodman came to the North Korean capital with a team of USA basketball stars for an exhibition game on Jan. 8, the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
(AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

NBA star Dennis Rodman continues his trip in North Korea with a team of fellow former NBA players, including former Knicks player Charles Smith and former Sonics star Vin Baker, for an exhibition game on leader Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

But after an outburst during an interview from North Korea Tuesday, he’s upset the sister of a Lynnwood man, and he’s being chastised by sports and political leaders.

Rodman and friends joined Chris Cuomo via satellite on CNN and Cuomo asked him on live TV whether he’s going to bring up the case of Kenneth Bae to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Bae is the tour operator from Lynnwood who has been imprisoned for planning, what North Korea called, a “religious coup d’etat.”

The question got Rodman pretty upset. “The one thing about politics. Kenneth Bae did one thing. If you understand what Kenneth Bae did. Do you understand what he did in this country?”

Now while it might sound like Rodman is talking nonsense. But as I said Tuesday, back in 1982 when KIRO sent a crew to the old Soviet Union for a week, I would do a Q&A with them from here in Seattle. One of the ground rules was we would not ask anything that might get them in trouble. We knew the broadcast was obviously being monitored, and we were pretty sure the rooms were bugged too.

Be that as it may, one can still question why they are there in the first place.

“They were blinded by the payday, I don’t know what else to say or how directly to say it,” said NBA commissioner David Stern, who was on CNN Tuesday.

And Senator John McCain also told CNN, “I think he (Rodman) is an idiot. I think he’s a person of not great intellect who doesn’t understand that he really does provide propaganda for what is a very brutal, ruthless young man (Kim Jong Un.) In one way, it’s almost comic but on the other side it, it really does increase his prestige with his people.”

Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, said their family couldn’t believe what Rodman said. She told KOMO, “This isn’t some game, this is about someone’s life. A father of three. A son and a brother and a husband. And here he sits, Dennis Rodman, he’s not a diplomat, he said so himself, and he’s definitely not in a position to pass judgment on Kenneth Bae.”

Report by Dave Ross & Owen Murphy.

Related:
Rep. Rick Larsen tells Dennis Rodman to butt out of politics

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McCain calls Dennis Rodman an ‘idiot’ following comments on Lynnwood man imprisoned in North Korea