The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation has started a petition asking for former basketball star Dennis Rodman to be ejected from the Basketball Hall of Fame. Rodman is a supporter and frequent visitor to North Korea. He has previously said that he loves dictator Kim Jong-un and considers him to be a friend. The petition argues that his actions have damaged the integrity of basketball, and therefore merit his removal from the Hall.
The North Korean regime is one of the most brutal communist dictatorships in the world, starving its people, constantly threatening nuclear war, and now, murdering an American citizen. Almost unanimously, the world’s leaders continue to come together to condemn the regime while a select few attempt to humanize Kim Jong-un and praise the “respect” he receives from his people.
While those sort of attempts are expected from fellow dictators it is appalling that they come from a once household name in American sports. Former NBA star and Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman has embraced North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as a “friend for life” and asserted “I love him” as he defended his human rights record. Rodman continued this one-man PR campaign for North Korea even as his fellow American Otto Warmbier fought for his life.
Rodman has long been known for his eccentricities, but this has gone too far. As a professional athlete and an NBA Hall of Fame member, Rodman is called to be a role model and set an example for the next generation. Individuals that praise murderers have no place being idolized by America’s youth or in any Hall of Fame in the United States.
According to the Hall’s Board of Trustees, a candidate may be removed if he or she “has damaged the integrity of the game of basketball.” Clearly, Rodman’s actions have tarnished the name and reputation of basketball and it is time that he is removed from the Hall of Fame. Doing so will send a message that all facets of American society, from sports to politics, will stand firm for our shared values and reject the shameless coddling of murderous dictatorial regimes.
Rodman's support and embrace of a murderous dictatorship is certainly troubling, especially in light of Otto Warmbier's death at the hands of the North Korean regime.