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Final Word: Dennis Rodman, hand over your passport

Dennis Rodman looks out at the court at the end of an exhibition basketball game with U.S. and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

Is it time to take Dennis Rodman's passport away?

I think so.

Rodman is on a crazed mission to play basketball in North Korea for Kim Jong Un's birthday. He has appointed himself a diplomat, and taken 10 former NBA players (who clearly need the money more than they value their pride) to play in a basketball game.

Unfortunately, it is considered a news event and is covered by media looking for a controversial angle on this tired former celebrity.

CNN interviewed Rodman Tuesday and, unfortunately, asked him about Kenneth Bae, a former South Korean immigrant turned Chinese tour company operator who took as many as 15 groups to North Korea to see the country. He was arrested by North Korean officials in November 2012.

North Korea won't say why they arrested him and has not produced any documents pertaining to his imprisonment.

He has a wife and children and suffers from diabetes. His family has been trying to get him freed, but have failed.

He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor and his family said his health is suffering.

North Korea is considered to have one of the harshest prison systems in the world. As many as 200,000 people are believed to be held there in prison camps, subjected to mistreatment and torture.

So, in an effort to boost ratings, CNN's Chris Cuomo asked Rodman about Kenneth Bae.

Rodman answered, obviously knowing little about the story. He yelled down the CNN host and proceeded to make zero sense in his comments about the North Korean government and its "Supreme Commander."

All the while, Rodman said he is doing something "nice." According to whom?

The U.S. has no diplomatic relations with North Korea and has repeatedly condemned its acts against humanity and efforts to start a nuclear weapons program.

Bae's family said Rodman is playing games with Bae's life and, in a way, they are right. He doesn't have to play basketball in North Korea, but he's obviously being paid a lot to do so.

It's too bad he's either too dumb or too crazy to realize he is being used by the North Korean PR machine, instead of making a political statement.

If we could only stop paying attention.

About the Author

Years with the company: Just started with Bonneville, but have worked for and with KTAR AM and FM since 1991.

Career: I always knew my career would be touched by news. I started as a news intern in 1991 and eventually reported news and sports, and anchored newscasts at KTAR when it was an AM, news/talk/sports station. I went to work at the Attorney General's Office in 1995, as a spokesperson for the 300 attorneys there, and for Attorney General Grant Woods. I returned as a part-time host and host of Arizona's Morning News Saturday in 2001.

Education: I escaped Catholic school early when the nuns wanted me to skip the second grade. I found my independent voice at a private grade school in Painesville, Ohio, then called Phillips Elementary. The teachers there encouraged us to ask questions and challenge the status quo. They took us on mind-opening trips and never once treated us like children. I am grateful for those years! I left Ohio in 1988 to attend Arizona State University because I knew I wanted to live in the West. I majored in Journalism and interned at KTAR in the newsroom my senior year.

Family: I am the last of nine children and my parents were undoubtedly looking at retiring when I was born. I was raised early on mostly by my five wonderful sisters. I have so many first cousins that I haven't yet met most of them.

Favorite movie: Caddyshack and anything by John Hughes.

#1 sports team: NL Diamondbacks. AL Cleveland Indians. Gotta love a team whose mascot is named Chief Wahoo.

Outside interests: Working out, cooking, traveling and reading a great book.


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