Jesse Jackson Defends Rodman on CNN
Dennis Rodman has not found many defenders this week since he traveled to North Korea to visit his “friend” Kim Jong-un on the occasion of his birthday. So it was surprising when Jesse Jackson shared a now-deleted congratulatory message for Rodman on Twitter, commending him on his “diplomacy efforts.”
Now, even after Rodman exploded in anger during a bizarre interview from Pyongyang earlier in the week, Jackson is still defending the former NBA player. In an interview with Don Lemon on CNN Wednesday evening, Jackson compared Rodman’s trips to previous instances of sports diplomacy, such as the U.S. ping pong team visiting China and the Harlem Globetrotters visiting Russia. He also said that he sent a letter to Kim Jong-un urging the release of imprisoned American Kenneth Bae, a subject that was a clear point of contention in Rodman’s CNN interview.
When Lemon pressed Jackson to admit that Rodman’s “craziness” could actually hurt U.S. diplomatic efforts with North Korea, Jackson warned against “confusing” the basketball player’s role with that of actual diplomats. What he can do is “illuminate” the issue.
“Why are we discussing North Korea today?” Jackson asked. “Because of Dennis Rodman.”