Earlier this week, Donald Trump tweeted the following with regard to the UCLA basketball players who were arrested in China for shoplifting:
Ok, now we’re going to politely ask you to recall what we said about that. To wit:
First, that is wildly inappropriate under these circumstances. This is an international incident (albeit a trivial one). The important part here is that you got the Americans home, not whether they “thank you” for basically doing your job.
If you’re the President of the United States and three college freshmen are headed for a possible jail sentence in China for stealing sunglasses, you bring their asses home. End of story. It is not a “favor” you have done for the college students. Sure, you expect them to express their gratitude and no, they should not have been stealing sunglasses, but the idea that this was something that Trump didn’t have to do is laughable. Also, he refers to himself in the third person there, just for a little extra dose of absurdity.
Additionally, you’re reminded that contrary to Trump’s assertion that he was instrumental in bringing them home, this wasn’t going to amount to anything in the first place because the Ball family is famous. If you missed it, here’s a bit of background color from the Washington Post that underscores the contention that at least one of the players did not in fact need Trump’s assistance:
The story also eclipsed the Ball family’s entry into the Chinese market. In concert with the middle son’s expected participation in the game, the family’s shoe and apparel business, Big Baller Brand, opened the first of two pop-up stores in Shanghai on Friday. At the event, LaVar Ball declined to answer questions about the incident, which came after he had canceled a news conference to promote the opening. The father appeared to get himself in hot water last week after telling ESPN he didn’t think the incident was a big deal.
While LiAngelo Ball remains in custody in Hangzhou, his older brother continues to suit up for his NBA team. Speaking to reporters in Phoenix Monday morning ahead of a game against the Suns, Lonzo Ball said in speaking to both his youngest brother, LaMelo, and father over the past few days, that it seems like the situation is moving closer to a resolution.
Meanwhile, the rest of the family — LaVar Ball, his wife and youngest son — have traveled to Hong Kong, where its second pop-up store is set to open Tuesday. UCLA’s next game is at home Wednesday against the University of Central Arkansas.
Just to drive that home, here’s what LaVar ball had to say about his son’s predicament when the whole thing started in Hangzhou:
I’m going to wait until I get more intel on what’s going on. He’ll be fine. Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal.
Right. That’s not to say that famous people who are making inroads into the Chinese sports merchandise market and whose global brand is becoming more recognizable virtually by the week should be above the law, it’s just to say that the reality of this situation is there was zero chance that LiAngelo Ball was going to end up rotting in a Chinese prison with or without Trump’s help. Again: that’s not a defense of shoplifting, it’s just reality.
Realizing that, LaVar ball said the following when asked by ESPN about Trump’s role in the incident:
Who? What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.
Trump being Trump, he chose to take the high road, noting in a carefully worded statement that regardless of why the young men are back in America, the important part is that they are safe and have hopefully learned a valuable lesson they can carry with them going forward.
I’m just kidding.
Donald Trump just got on Twitter and said he should have left all three of the college freshmen in a Chinese jail.
A quick note for the President: if the media “sins of the father” are enough to warrant harsh prison sentences for minor infractions committed by the son, well then we should throw Eric and Jr. in prison for the rest of their lives.