Prior to leaving Beijing, President Trump launched a buzzer beater plea to China’s leader Xi Jinping to ensure that the “knuckleheads,” as he so eloquently referred to the UCLA freshman, be treated fairly.
After being suspected of swiping designer sunglasses from a high-end shopping center in Hangzhou, the players were sequestered in their swanky hotel for a week awaiting their fate while the rest of the team returned home on Saturday from their defeat over Georgia Tech.
Tuesday night the notorious trio of LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley touched down at LAX avoiding a mob of paparazzi and about two-dozen media chomping at the bit inside the Delta Airlines terminal. Donning casual athletic gear, I only hope that LiAngelo had the presence of mind to not be brandishing his $495 Baller Brand shoes.
It’s not exactly known how the teens fled what could have been serious charges, as it was not clear whether the resolution of the situation was due to insufficient evidence or a deal negotiated by our self proclaimed best dealmaker President.
Whatever the case may be, the badly behaving Bruins can thank god that the Asian nation has embraced The Donald like France fawned over the late Jerry Lewis.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Tuesday before the trio’s release was known, Trump expressed, “What they did was unfortunate,” he said of the players. “You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences.” He added, referring to the Chinese, “They do not play games.”
Trump credited Chinese President Xi Jinping with intervening. “President Xi has been terrific on that subject. But that was not a good subject,” Trump said. “That was not something that should have happened.”
The big question is what disciplinary action the detained players should face for their dumb moves. If the surveillance video is not released we’ll never know what occurred, but UCLA knows that the boys did a bad, bad thing.
If it’s determined that the three students were involved in this appalling deed, then school authorities need to suspend them for the remainder of the year as condoning this behavior sets a bad precedent for those who play by the rules, not to mention marring the reputation of a storied university.
Unfortunately, LiAngelo’s dad is not setting a good example for he or his cohorts. Last week, after the shoplifting allegations surfaced, LaVar Ball told ESPN: “Everybody is making it a big deal. It ain’t that big of a deal.” In the wake of the Facebook reality series following his basketball brood, he’s lucky that his son dodged a bullet by not being charged in Beijing so the show wouldn’t be retitled, “Bail in the Family.”