Somehow, the real issue got lost in all of this.
A lot of brouhaha over the arrest and subsequent release of former UCLA basketball players, and the involvement of Donald Trump, and the reaction of a player parent.
Trump addressed the situation by making a phone call to the Chinese President. The players were later released. Afterwards, Trump tweeted asking to see what the players would say. They thanked him for his efforts.
Trump then gave the players some good advice and wished them well. The players themselves, now suspended for their criminal acts, have a long road to get back on the team. At least they are free.
ESPN decided to contact one of the players father’s and elevated parts of the interview.
“Who?” LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday, when asked about Trump’s involvement in the matter. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
Later, the father made this statement:
“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine,” LaVar Ball told ESPN. “I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.’ I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing.
Trump’s response is that the parents are ungrateful. He said that perhaps, he should have left them there and let them suffer the consequences of their actions.
He has a point. The father of one of the players apparently did not understand the gravity of the situation. Perhaps the university failed to explain the grim reality that laid before them. Maybe they just didn’t want to know.
But what is essentially an attempt by ESPN to pit a father against Trump, they were willing to share that the father is oblivious to reality and have no qualms allowing the father to just believe every country is like LA.. or something. In my opinion, this is bad journalism.
I understand that those who hate Trump are going to view everything he does under the microscope of cynicism, but the point lost in this: Three young men, on a basketball scholarship for free education to a prestigious school, decided to steal items from a store in another country where the rule of law is very much different, and certainly harsher. Mr. Ball didn’t seem to think this was a big deal.
What does that really say about the parents?