Dennis Rodman vs. the American people

Dennis Rodman Photo by Portal Bogota used under the Creative Commons license
Dennis Rodman
Photo by Portal Bogota used under the Creative Commons license

Carlos Font, Staff Writer

   When you talk about Hall of Famers, for the most part you talk about guys that have exceeded both on and off the field. To be selected into any Hall of Fame, the press chooses players based on their contribution to their team and how they excelled as a player.  In 2011, the most controversial player in the National Basketball Association (NBA), was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

   Dennis Rodman, a five-time NBA champion, has always been known for his antics on and off the court. Rodman has been known for showing up to a book signing dressed as a bride, fighting on the basketball court and being accused of hitting his ex-wife. Rodman was a very emotional basketball player yet arguably the best rebounder/defender of all times. Over the course of his career, Rodman got the privilege to play alongside players like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Isiah Thomas, Joe Duamars and David Robinson.  During the Hall of Fame ceremony an emotional Dennis Rodman said, “I didn’t play the game for the money… I didn’t play the game to be famous. What you see here is an individual that is very colorful.”

   Just because Rodman has been exalted into basketball immortality, does not mean he is done being the most controversial basketball player in the league. It appears that Dennis Rodman has become the most controversial American citizen.

    On February 26, 2013, Rodman took a trip to North Korea with Vice Media, an international magazine that focuses on arts, culture and news topics. While in North Korea, Rodman got the chance to visit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After his meeting with the leader Rodman said that Jong-un was “a friend for life” and suggested that President Obama should give him a call.

   Once again Rodman was surrounded in controversy. Due to North Korea’s constant threats towards the United States, the American press ripped Rodman apart for his support of Jong-un. Rodman followed with two more trips to North Korea. His visits to North Korea brought Rodman critics commenting that what he did was “un-American.”

   The NBA star’s behavior begs the question, is it unethical and un-American to visit North Korea? Here is my answer: why does it matter? Yes North Korean leader, Jong-un, has threatened the United States multiple times but why can’t we as citizens of this world go out and explore other countries and be friends with who we want to be?  If we can’t visit the countries that have ever threatened the world then we shouldn’t be able to visit places like Germany, because Adolf Hitler almost made a whole race go extinct. Why was it okay for Gandhi to be friends with Hitler, but a basketball player can’t be friends with this North Korean leader?

   I’m not saying that what North Korea is doing is right; but if we get too caught up in politics, then perhaps we should not be allowed to leave our respective countries. There will always be conflict between countries, but I don’t think it’s fair for the press to criticize Rodman for his visits to North Korea.