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Hopes too high for Worm

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By Nick Schrager

 Being a celebrity or professional athlete has its ups and downs. Sure, there’s money, big houses, fast cars, private jets, etc. But there is also the fact you get scrutinized for anything, and everything. Take Lindsay Lohan for example, or Michael Vick, both of whom would have zero or very little press time if they were ordinary people.

But what about Dennis Rodman?

Rodman has, for lack of better words, been a bit of a creep for as long as I can remember. That is not to say there is something wrong with being extroverted, having your face pierced, or being called The Worm. I have nothing against piercings or interesting nicknames. In fact, now that I think about it, I have very little against Rodman, and when he went to North Korea last year and said all the positive words and gave praise to their new leader, I was a bit skeptical.

He’s just saying those words because he’s on their soil, I thought. Maybe he was threatened at gunpoint or was fearing for his life, I thought. 

But I was wrong.

What a dummy (dummy may or may not be the actual word used)! I proclaimed, when Rodman still praised the country after returning to the United States. Since then, Rodman has been back to North Korea and this last time, he even brought a few of his pals, a group of ex-NBA players. 

During their trip, Rodman publically sang “Happy Birthday” to their leader, Kim Jong Un. Afterwards, Rodman and his friends played a game of basketball against a North Korean team, a game which the former NBA players conveniently lost. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the game finished, 47-39. 

After Rodman’s departure from North Korea, he was greeted by members of the media who blasted him for not conducting diplomacy with the fascist leader about the release of Kenneth Bae. Bae is an American who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2013 for attempting to overthrow the North Korean government.

Rodman’s response, “That’s not my job.” 

And as odd as Rodman?s actions have been, I couldn’t agree with him more. 

While we hold celebrities and athletes to higher standards than ourselves, I couldn’t think of anyone worse to be negotiating prisoner releases from gulags. In fact, I think I would rather a class of kindergarteners be performing those negotiations, they might be cute enough to jerk a tear or two in the dictator’s eyes. 

On Jan. 13, Rodman told CNN, “I’m not God, I’m not (an) ambassador, I’m no one. I just want to show the world the fact that we can actually get along in sport. That is it!”

Granted, Rodman had trouble piecing a comprehensive sentence together during several of the interviews I saw with him, but I must say, that might be the most intelligent quote I’ve ever heard come out of a celebrity or athlete’s mouth when they are in hot water. 

While I do not agree with Rodman flying in and out of a brutally violent communist country and singing “Happy Birthday” to that nation’s leader, I cannot stay silent about him being ripped to shreds by the media over him not conducting diplomacy.

I think the people who are blasting Rodman don’t like his actions either, but instead of writing a column about it, they have turned it into some imaginary crusade where Rodman is the only man in the world who can save the day. I am sure that if they were stuck in a work camp, they probably wouldn’t want a guy named The Worm negotiating over their lives either.