Dennis Rodman is building his humanitarian credibility, one trip to North Korea at a time. He made the announcement on ABC’s “Good Morning America” after his return from his five-day visit. Rodman arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea the same day Pyongyang released Otto Warmbier, 22, the American college student who was released from prison last week and died soon after.
Warmbier was in a comatose state when he landed in his home state of Ohio on June 13. He had suffered a severe neurological injury from an unknown cause, according to his doctors. Warmbier died on Monday, June 19.
The NBA Hall of famer turned American diplomat believes “his friend,” Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is misunderstood.
Rodman’s agent, Chris Volo, says his client personally lobbied the Pyongyang government for Warmbier’s return home.
Volo tells ABC News, “I asked on behalf of Dennis for his release three times. I know being there had something to do with it. Because when I was organizing the trip … and I meet with the delegates here, you know, I addressed… Otto Warmbier. And I said to them, ‘we… would need his… you know, a release, some type of good faith, if we’re ever going to do some type of future sports relations’. “They said they understood.”
Rodman reached out to the Warmbiers and says he was snubbed. “I didn’t know he was sick,” Rodman says.
He adds, “We’ve seen a lot of changes [to the country]. [North Korea] is so modernized now. When you go over there, and you hear the radio, and… people are talking,’ Rodman said. They’re so happy now, because it’s more like… it’s civilized again.”
Both the State Department and the decedent’s father, Fred Warmbier, deny Rodman played any role in Otto Warmbier’s freedom.
“Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto returning to the United States,” Warmbier tells “Good Morning America.”
Warmbier was laid to rest in Wyoming, Ohio, on Thursday, June 22.