Jesse Jackson: Rodman Trip 'Illuminating'

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson praised Dennis Rodman’s visit to a prison-state devoid of civil rights as “illuminating” in a Wednesday television interview.

“Why are we discussing North Korea today?” Jackson asked CNN’s Don Lemon. “Because of Dennis Rodman.” The former presidential candidate tweeted, and later deleted, this message on Monday: “Ping pong diplomacy worked in China, and Basketball seems to work in North Korea.”  

It works for Rodman and company. Breitbart.com reported Thursday that Rodman, like many of the NBA retirees, suffers from severe money troubles. He owes $450,000 in back taxes. Vin Baker concedes he blew through most of the $100 million he made in the league. Kenny Anderson lost half his fortune to an ex-wife that sported a “HISCASH” license plate after success in divorce court. And Doug Christie announced a behind-the-cameras foray into the pornography business after appearing on several reality television programs. The players have not divulged their compensation for the trip.

Rodman sparked outrage this week by serenading Kim Jong-un with “Happy Birthday,” performing with his basketball troupe for the dictator, and seemingly justifying the regime holding Christian missionary Kenneth Bae captive. “Do you understand what he did in this country?” Rodman asked befuddled CNN host Chris Cuomo of the imprisoned American citizen. “You tell me! You tell me! Why is he held captive?”

Lemon expressed similar puzzlement at Jackson's defense of Rodman. Jackson conceded on CNN that Rodman had in the Cuomo interview drifted out of his comfort zone, which noticeably knocked several of his “basketball diplomacy” teammates out of their comfort zones. But he primarily blamed CNN’s Chris Cuomo for this.

“Rodman said I’m a basketball player and we would not leave him as basketball player,” Jackson maintained. “Cuomo did a serious diplomatic interview with him about his position about Kenneth Bae, which I thought was off-base.”

Rodman later explained of his bizarre CNN interview that he had been drunk. What’s Jesse’s excuse?


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