SEATTLE (AP) — The sister of a Washington man imprisoned in North Korea says she's worried that Dennis Rodman, who traveled to the country to celebrate the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un, is hurting efforts to free her brother.
For his part, Rodman has apologized for comments he made about captive American missionary Kenneth Bae in an interview with CNN. The former basketball star issued the apology Thursday through publicist Jules Feiler in an email message to The Associated Press.
"I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae's family," Rodman said, adding he had had "a very stressful day" when he made the comments.
"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."
He added, "At this point, I should know better than to make political statements. I'm truly sorry."
Bae's sister, Terri Chung, said earlier Wednesday his family couldn't believe what Rodman said about Bae. In a CNN interview Tuesday, Rodman said he refused to discuss Bae with North Korean leaders and implied Bae may deserve to be imprisoned. Rodman and other former NBA players played in an exhibition game Wednesday in Pyongyang and Rodman sang a verse from a birthday song to Kim.
Chung said her brother did nothing wrong and that Rodman didn't know what he was talking about.
"Clearly, he's uninformed and doesn't know anything about Kenneth or his detainment. I don't think he has any authority to speak or pass judgment on Kenneth, certainly," Chung said.
She had no immediate comment Wednesday night after Rodman's apology was announced.
"I'm just headed to bed," she said. "I'll have to take a look at it tomorrow."