Elder Patriot – Coincidental to President Trump’s recent trip to China the UCLA basketball team was also playing there.
Three players from the Bruin’s basketball team used their downtime to do some shoplifting from at least three high-end stores. They were arrested and detained until President Trump used his influence with China’s President Xi Jinping to have them released and returned to the United States.
You would think that the parents of these players would be thankful for the safe return of their sons and grateful for whatever role the president might’ve played in making that happen.
After all it wasn’t too long ago that the parents of Otto Warmbier had their son returned in a coma and near death after he stole a poster. That’s’ right, a piece of paper.
But LaVar Ball, whose son LiAngelo was one of the three players left behind when the UCLA team headed back to the U.S., couldn’t find it in his heart to thank President Trump for expending the political capital necessary to have his son and his two teammates released, something former president Obama didn’t bother trying for the Warmbiers until it was too late to save the young man. Even then Obama delegated the task to the State Department.
Trump resorted to Twitter in an attempt to extract a thank you from the players and to remind all Americans that he’s on the job for them regardless of their ethnicity, race or political beliefs.
The penalty for shoplifting has recently come under review by Chinese officials who want it made more severe than it already is.
Trump thanked Xi for intervening on behalf of the players but LaVar Ball refused to thank Trump for asking Xi for his help.
During an interview with ESPN Ball said:
“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. 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 LA. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses.”
That might be true in L.A. but Mainland China isn’t the same liberal bastion as L.A.
At least Trump knows the players are thankful for his efforts. Upon returning to the United States the younger Ball made this statement:
“We’re young men, but it’s not an excuse for making a really stupid decision. I’m extremely sorry for those I let down. I’d also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help they provided as well.”
Both of the other players, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley also expressed their gratitude to President Trump during that press conference. Speaking for his teammate, Riley told the press gathering, “We really appreciate you [President Donald Trump for] helping us out.”
While LaVar Ball might not be able to overcome the animus in his heart it’s encouraging to see that the younger generation understands that when someone does you a favor – even holding a door open for you to pass through – you say thank you.