North Korea’s atrocities, and the imprisonment of American Kenneth Bae, were unknown to at least one of the players who traveled to the country with Dennis Rodman last week. Cliff Robinson also claimed that he was unaware that the players would be taking part in a birthday celebration for leader Kim Jong Un.
“The trip happened quick, but we probably could have done a little bit more homework about what was going on or asked Dennis more questions,” Robinson said on CNN on Monday. He said he believed the point of the trip was to “spread the love of basketball,” but was “disappointed” in the fallout since the trip, though he didn’t blame or call on Rodman to apologize for it.
The one-time Sixth Man of the Year added that while the Bae situation is “over our head” and best left to diplomats, he hoped their trip to North Korea can “soften up” the country in its relations with the United States.
Rodman arrived in Beijing on Monday morning and apologized for “certain situations” in North Korea, but stood by his decision to bring the former players over as part of his “basketball diplomacy” efforts. “I’m not God, I’m not (an) ambassador, I’m no one,” Rodman said.
“I just want to show the world the fact that we can actually get along in sport. That is it!”