Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman said Thursday that he’s not going to talk politics or raise human rights concerns during his trip to North Korea because “I’m not an ambassador.”
Rodman arrived in North Korea from Beijing on Thursday for his third visit to the isolated country according to CNN, during which he is expected to help train a North Korean basketball team ahead of an exhibition game in January that will celebrate the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un. Rodman’s trip has fallen under particular scrutiny because it follows Kim’s public purging of his high-ranking uncle, who was executed last week.
“It has nothing to do with me. I mean, whatever his uncle has done, and whoever’s done anything in North Korea, I have no control over that,” Rodman told Reuters from his hotel in Beijing. “I mean, these things have been going on for years and years and years.
“I’m just going over there to do a basketball game and have some fun,” Rodman said.
Human rights activists have called on Rodman, who has a friendly relationship with Kim, to raise human rights issues.
“People have been saying these things here and there,” Rodman told Reuters. “It doesn’t really matter to me. I’m not a politician. I’m not an ambassador.”