"This is Dennis Rodman talking," Dennis Rodman said on camera Friday morning to CNN, weeks after his (drunk) PR disaster of an interview with the network. " If [North Korea] said, ‘We’ll take Dennis Rodman and we’ll let Kenneth Bae go,’ I’d say, ‘You know what, I’ll do that.’ Straight ahead, I’d do it. Take me," he added. Rodman, apparently, hopes this gesture will make up for months of statements downplaying the plight of Bae, an American citizen currently imprisoned in North Korea. And possibly to make up for his last embarrassing CNN appearance.
Rodman is currently in rehab, following his most recent trip to North Korea (the basketball celebrity is friends with the country's dictator). For Kim Jong-un's birthday, Rodman even sang "Happy Birthday" to the leader during the basketball game he put together in his honor. Back home in the U.S., this gesture did not sit well. The fact that Rodman had earlier told CNN he believed Bae was guilty of doing something deserving of imprisonment in one of North Korea's labor camps didn't really help matters, either. So now Rodman is doing damage control. Here's what he said about Bae:
"I feel for (Bae's family). I feel for them deeply. ... I would do anything literally. This is Dennis Rodman talking. If they (North Korea) said, 'We'll take Dennis Rodman and we'll let Kenenth Bae go,' I'll say, 'You know what? I'll do that. ... Take me.'"
Rodman also reiterated that he's "not an ambassador" to North Korea, his long-standing rebuttal to questions over why he seems to have little interest in Bae's fate. Rodman also clarified that he is "not a traitor." He's just a basketball man, playing basketball. "My whole goal is to make people happy."
Although here at The Wire, we've discussed the possibility of Rodman ending up in a North Korean prison, Kim Jong-un will certainly not offer to let Bae and Rodman switch places. Kim loves basketball, and apparently Rodman. And Bae is a symbol for one of the many conspiracy theories promoted by the North Korean government about the state's enemies.
Kenneth Bae, a tour guide based in China, was arrested in North Korea in 2012, and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. North Korea believes that Bae was part of an international Christian plot to overthrow the North Korean government. On Thursday, a North Korean official told Sky News that the American would not be released until the end of his sentence.