Student view: North Korea and Dennis Rodman
Whether it be his multi-colored hair and hairstyles he donned on a multitude of occasions or his famous red carpet masquerades such as when he wore a wedding dress in May of 1996 to promote his autobiography, Bad As I Wanna Be, by now many have heard of Dennis Rodman’s outlandish behavior, both on and off the court.
But after his recent trip to North Korea with 10 other former NBA players for an exhibition game against the North Korean “Torch Team,” Rodman may have gone too far as he refers to the North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un as his “friend,” and angrily yells at CNN’s Chris Cuomo. Rodman was in North Korea to celebrate his “friend” Kim Jong Un’s birthday and can be seen here serenading Jong.
Perhaps the worst part was when Rodman, sided with North Korea’s decision to hold Kenneth Bae prisoner in a labor camp as he was heard saying, “Do you understand what Kenneth Bae did? Do you understand what he did?…You tell me why he is held captive in this country.”
Kenneth Bae is the captive US missionary who was in North Korea and is now sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp, indicted on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. Original speculation was that it may have have had something to do with an item that he had on his body, such as a bible.
Two things came into play here: North Korea is officially an atheist state, and many believed Dennis Rodman showed no sympathy for Bae during his rant, which ranged from topics such as the Olympics to Bae, himself. Some said Rodman appeared to be insinuating that he believed Bae deserved to be imprisoned.
Even though Rodman has since apologized for his comments, can the damage be taken back? And will the American people look at this as him betraying his country and siding with North Korea?
“Well, I believe that Pyongyang is a massive counterfeit printing area. I believe that Dennis Rodman is going over there and Kim Jong Un is allowing him to stuff his pockets with counterfeit hundred dollar bills… That and I think he’s pretty crazy” – Freshman Patrick Burnam
“I have to say that it’s not the greatest thing. I think that if North Korea wants to shut themselves out from the world that everybody should shut them out and not do anything with them. I feel like Dennis Rodman could be inciting hatred of the world, or more hatred of the world, in North Korea. It’s not the best thing for him to be our diplomat, which is kind of what he is doing. And it’s not right for him to do that. I think that he should just stop and quit while he’s ahead.” – Sophomore Hayden Elder
“I think it’s really weird, for one, this is the most hostile country in the world and they’re accepting this random basketball player to come, but I think it also shows how weird their politics over there are, to that there is no planning as who they accept and who they don’t, it’s just who their supreme leader happens to like at the moment. I think that it’s really inappropriate for him to go there because… It’s just a country that we kind of don’t get along with. Some people might have a problem with someone going to Russia or something because we don’t agree with that, but with North Korea it’s like they’re obviously doing terrible things over there and he’s defending that and by defending their leader, he’s defending their acts. ” – Junior Jilly Dos Santos
“It’s a little odd. I’m not sure what’s exactly motivating him to support and really interact with a nation that’s widely accepted as being fairly insane and not motivated by rational decisions. They’re also kind of aggressive and don’t fit well into global public policy and I’m not sure what his motivation in kissing up to them would be… [Rodman] can state his own opinion and everyone can have their own opinion, though I’m not sure people should put much credibility behind it, especially when he’s shown himself to be bias towards basically anything North Korea does, so it’s probably not a bias source that should be trusted or even given much credit to but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” – Senior Cameron Warder
By Sam Mitten
What do you think?