Dennis Rodman criticised for North Korea trip

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Football News

Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman is not without his critics within the sport of basketball, and now you can add David Stern to that list.

The NBA commissioner spoke last night at the NBA global games in London and distanced himself from Rodman's latest diplomacy effort:

"Well, he didn't invite me to go with him, and had he, I would have declined because I think that those things are best undertaken by coordination with government to make sure that the right protocols are followed, and sports diplomacy is used at it's highest."

Rodman visited North Korea earlier this month with a group of former players to face a North Korean select team. The game was in celebration of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's birthday.

Stern went on to explain that the NBA endorses sports diplomacy when in coordination with government: "We've tried to use it when (deputy commissioner) Adam Silver actually hosted in Salt Lake City the Iranian national team with the encouragement and support of the U.S State Department."

"There's a huge, huge spot for sports diplomacy." Stern continued, "Birthday parties for dictators that torture, kill, starve, develop missiles and bombs, not so much, and that's my thought."

Members of the United States congress and human rights groups have expressed their opposition to Rodman's trip, claiming that he did not bring up important human rights abuses in the reclusive state.

Rodman did later apologise, saying "I am sorry. I am not the president. I am not an ambassador. I am Dennis Rodman," the former Chicago Bulls player said at Beijing airport.

"Just an individual, just showing the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day."

Rodman also stated that he intended to return to North Korea next month.

David Stern's tenure as NBA commissioner is set to end on the 1st February, with Adam Silver taking over as the league's head man.

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