Former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman is facing major backlash for his ties with North Korea Leader Kim Jong-un.
In a recent report by TMZ, it was revealed that the 56-year-old former Chicago Bulls star is now being criticized for his relationship with the controversial leader. According to the news outlet, a major human rights organization called The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is not happy about Rodman’s unexpected friendship with Kim Jong-un. The group also condemns the NBA star’s recent visit to North Korea.
The non-profit organization is now asking the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to boot Rodman, adding that publicly supporting a “murderer” doesn’t deserve to be an inductee in such prestigious association.
An online petition was already launched by the group on Change.org. The petition aims to “Eject Star NBA Player Dennis Rodman from the Hall of Fame” for supporting the North Korean dictator.
In the online petition, the VOC reiterated that an inductee may be removed from the Hall of Fame if he or she “has damaged the integrity of the game of basketball” as stated by Board of Trustees. The non-profit group believes that Rodman’s relationship with Kim Jong-un is a clear violation of this rule and that his actions have “tarnished” the reputation of basketball.
As of this writing, the petition already gathered 1,851 supporters. Rodman and his team have yet to comment about it.
Meanwhile, Rodman just returned from his much-publicized trip to North Korea and now being criticized for allegedly taking credit for the release of American student Otto Warmbier, who died on Monday.
On Friday, Rodman sat down with ABC‘s Michael Strahan and opened up about his trip and the backlash that comes with it. The controversial NBA superstar claimed that he decided to take the trip to North Korea out of kindness and his desire to help. He also revealed that the trip was worth the criticism.
“What am I getting out of this? I’m going over there out of the kindness of my heart trying to help. And next thing you know, you come back. Wow. What did I do that’s so bad.”
Rodman also talked about the release of imprisoned Otto Warmbier. The former power forward implied that his trip to North Korea has influenced the decision to release the American student.
Although the state department and Warmbier’s father have reiterated that Rodman had no hand in the student’s release, the NBA Hall of Famer insists that he played a huge role in it.
Rodman’s agent, Chris Volo, who was with the basketball star during his trip to North Korea, also shared the same sentiment. Volo claimed that he “asked on behalf of Dennis for [Warmbier’s] release three times.”
“I know being there had something to do with it,” Volo added. “I said to them, we would need some type of good faith if we’re ever going to do some type of future sports relations. They said they understood.”
On the other hand, Rodman continues to “humanize” Kim Jong-un, as he defends their friendship. The iconic basketball player pointed out that his ties with the dictator have nothing to do with the political side.
He also reiterated that Kim Jong-un is a “friendly guy,” and that people often “misunderstood” him for his actions. He also added that the world would see a different side of him “if you actually talk to him.”
[Featured Image by David Guttenfelder, Wong Maye-E/AP Images]