Saturday, November 18

Wang’s Word: UCLA must discipline basketball players for China arrests


Freshman guard LiAngelo Ball and two other UCLA men's basketball freshmen were arrested Tuesday for alleged shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store near the Bruins' team hotel in Hangzhou, China. (Keila Mayberry/Daily Bruin staff)

Freshman guard LiAngelo Ball and two other UCLA men's basketball freshmen were arrested Tuesday for alleged shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store near the Bruins' team hotel in Hangzhou, China. (Keila Mayberry/Daily Bruin staff)


I’m more familiar with the legal system in China than I should be.

My grandfather was mauled by a drunk driver six years ago in broad daylight in front of multiple witnesses near Wuxi, a city two hours west of Shanghai. The riffraff who committed the hit-and-run waited a month as the authorities investigated the crime, and ended up with only four months in prison after being found guilty.

I know the draconian and slug-paced nature of the Chinese legal system, but now three UCLA men’s basketball freshmen are going to be experts in the field.

Cody Riley, Jalen Hill and LiAngelo Ball were arrested for allegedly shoplifting from three stores in a high-end shopping center next to UCLA’s hotel in Hangzhou, sparking an international incident during a week aimed at generating goodwill between the Pac-12 and China.

[Related: LiAngelo Ball, two other UCLA basketball players arrested in China]

The rest of the Bruin team has since returned to the U.S. ahead of its Wednesday home game, but the trio remains in China reportedly confined to their hotel awaiting legal proceedings in the country.

But no matter what their punishment is abroad, UCLA needs to lay down the hammer for its own discipline of the players.

Coach Steve Alford, athletic director Dan Guerrero and the university should suspend the three players for the entire year and possibly more, depending on how much more information about the situation is released in the coming weeks.

Ultimately, this is about accountability and responsibility.

A world power welcomed two American universities and offered them the opportunity of a lifetime. Riley reportedly got a passport just for this trip, which was his first venture outside of the U.S.

And let’s not forget the sum of money UCLA has spent and will spend on legal counsel, interpreters and housing for the players and athletic department representatives until the issue is resolved.

During halftime of UCLA’s game versus Georgia Tech on Friday, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said he is “incredibly disappointed that a situation has arisen that’s distracted from all the amazing experiences that the student-athletes are having here.”

The Bruin trio only needed to take a few photos with Alibaba Group co-founder Joe Tsai and visit Shanghai Disney Resort. If they don’t have the maturity and common sense to follow the most fundamental of laws during an international trip, how can Alford trust them to abide by team rules, NCAA regulations and U.S. laws while balancing the life of a college student?

The violation-laden world of college basketball has received significant negative press in recent weeks due to the pending FBI investigation into several assistant coaches across the country bribing the families of high school recruits. The UCLA administration needs to treat the freshmen’s transgression swiftly and severely.

Alford can take a hint from one of his multimillionaire colleagues in Westwood.

UCLA football coach Jim Mora has suspended redshirt junior receiver Jordan Lasley for disciplinary reasons on two separate occasions this season for a total of four games – or one-third of the season – and Lasley didn’t commit a crime in a foreign country.

“We want the Pac-12 China game to be more than just a basketball game,” Scott said last week after the players were arrested. “We want it to inspire the youth of China to pursue their dreams, both in academics as well as athletics.”

These players were responsible for representing UCLA and the country during their time abroad, and they failed to meet even the most basic standards of law-abiding citizens. UCLA must hold them accountable and send the message that no player – or players – can be let off the hook for violating foreign laws and making a fool out of the school, the Pac-12 and the U.S.

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  • Slack40

    Perhaps you should wait till all the facts come out. You don’t even know how many of the 3 players actually stole something. Also, Jalen Hill is only 17, and the police actually broke Chinese law by arresting him and not immediately releasing him to a guardian.

    Yes, if all 3 definitely stole something then they deserve a punishment. But you don’t know any of the facts. Was it 1 player? 3 players? No players? And no, ESPN reports do not count as facts.

    • pollcat

      You know China’s law? Why don’t you go defend them. A thief is a thief. I don’t care if they are 17 or 71. This is not acceptable in any country.

      • Mike Garza

        I’m definintely not condoning what they are accused of but please keep things in perspective. The punishment should fit the crime. These are 17 and 19 year olds. They made a mistake and will have to face the consequences. Everyone makes mistakes and should be given a second chance to learn from their mistakes. Some have suggested ludricous punishment such as 10 years imprisonment or being expelled from UCLA. Suspension is probably most likely what will occur. It’s important that we hear all the facts before we come to judgment and or call out harsh punishment. Perhaps after we hear firsthand from these young men and the remorse they feel, can we then talk about punishment.

        • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

          Nonsense. This will not be American justice, but Chinese justice.

          They should not be treated any differently than someone in China who commits similar crimes.

          • Slack40

            If they admit to the crime, then, yes suspend them. However, a local in China who steals almost always just gets a slap on the wrist. So, if you want the players treated the same, that’s what they should get. Working here, I’ve met both locals and Americans who have gotten in trouble with the law. I’ve never met one who has actually done hard jail time for minor crimes. And yes, stealing is considered a small crime here. Unless you tick off the wrong person, it’s never months in jail for something like this.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            “[Y]es, suspend them.” No expel them.

          • Slack40

            Considering that misdemeanors committed by athletes don’t warrant getting kicked off a UCLA sports team, not sure why expulsion is your solution. There is no way shoplifting is considered the equivalent of a felony in China. It’s not even a felony in CA for items under $1000.

        • snizzle1

          Cody Riley is actually 20 otherwise I agree with your take. Suspensions from school for all 3 seem about right depending on how the judicial process plays out in China with the one who committed the actual shoplifting of course receiving the stiffest penalty. Unfortunately this incident is so high profile I believe the university will have to hand down some penalties here.

        • Marilyn

          A mistake? Intentional shoplifting is not s mistake. So sick of people mollycoddling young people. Seems nobody takes responsibility for their behavior, of course shoplifting is wrong, a first grader knows that, so do these guys but clearly nobody has ever held them accountable for their actions.

          • Mike Garza

            Mistake: “An action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.” Get off your moral high horse. I have no doubt that these college kids are remourseful for what they did. Hopefully, fair treatment through the normal judicial system will take place. After the Chinese government, It’s now in the hands of UCLA, The Board Of Regents and Coach Alford to reccomend punishment. Not you or me.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            Nonsense, Mike. They are only “remorseful” about getting caught.

            If they are not expelled, it will send all of the wrong signals to other student-athletes across the country, and around the world. AND it will tell others about UCLA, in a very negative sense.

            SC has been known for decades as the school of “thugs” quite literally (e.g., O.J.)

            To keep UCLA’s fine reputation intact, they must be expelled . . . or the Chancellor, AD and coach must go.

            Take your pick.

        • Fadeaway

          While your handing them a simple suspension, why not give them another participation medal? The young today learn nothing, no discipline, no learning to lose, no consequence for their actions. Just give them another slap on the wrist… Cancel the scholarships at a minimum and kick them off the basketball team.

      • Slack40

        I’m a UCLA alum, but I’ve been working in China for the past 15 years. So yes, I do know Chinese law. 10 years ago, it would have been ok for the police to detain Jalen Hill without question. However, they recently changed the law (I think in the past 5 years or so). So that Jalen Hill, who is a minor, should not have been arrested and questioned. The other 2, yes, it was ok for the police to question them. Jalen Hill, not without his guardian. The police screwed up and prosecutors know it. You should also know that when authorities screw up here, they 100% will never admit it.

        Again, I’m not saying they are innocent. but you do not have hard evidence. And any local who gets caught stealing here…..there is not way they would spend 3 years in jail. It’s always a slap on the wrist.

      • Marilyn

        Clearly you and I are in the minority here, athletic ability and privilege trumps criminal charges (pardon the pun!)

  • poconobruce

    They say they have tapes at 3 different stores. It seems that the Ball boys have the run of the LA area. Their dad was ignorant when he said it’s no big deal (this isn’t LA), he would be wise to keep quiet. He will learn that a crime in China is different than in the US.

    • Marilyn

      The dads comment says it all, kids raised with no values do not know how to behave. Pathetic.

      • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

        Imagine what the Lakers have to deal with, to keep the father “happy.”

  • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

    First, Wang’s article takes a very mild approach to the three thugs. Reportedly there is video evidence of their actual shoplifting.

    Second, hopefully they are convicted and forced to serve out their terms in China, which may last for several years.

    Third, Wang states:

    “And let’s not forget the sum of money UCLA has spent and will spend on legal counsel, interpreters and housing for the players and athletic department representatives until the issue is resolved.”

    Not one penny of funds from the University of California or any other governmental body should be spent to help them. They are a disgrace to the nation, UCLA, their families and themselves.

    Fourth, UCLA alums and fans are enraged. The three students’ careers at UCLA should end, period. They probably should not have been admitted in the first place.

    • Califoregonean

      I’m assuming when the college student from Virginia was arrested for theft in North Korea, you also called him a thug and wished his 15 year sentence?

      • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

        These are bonafide thugs from LA, who have been videotaped.

        • Califoregonean

          You didn’t answer my question. Was the 22 year old college student from Virginia who admitted to theft in North Korea a thug? Were you satisfied when he was given 15 years hard labor?

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            One assumes you are referring to Otto Warmbier, who traveled to North Korea at the beginning of last year.

            He did not spend 15 years at hard labor. That is nonsense.

          • Califoregonean

            He did not spend 15 years because he is no longer alive. He was sentenced to 15 years. You seem to be avoiding the question. When you read of him, did you think he was a thug?

            https://www.nbcnews.com/video/u-s-student-sentenced-to-15-years-hard-labor-in-north-korea-645468739913

          • Sloane Peterson

            LaVar is that you? Or just some alumni who is so eager to have a winning basketball team, that you will overlook theft? As a woc it makes me sick to see how NCAA athletes waste the chance for an education to simply use college as a stopgap to the pros. Ball should never had been recruited by UCLA,once his father opened his mouth, and the oldest jumped ship to make the $$ with the Lakers.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            Well said.

          • Califoregonean

            Because I asked this gentleman if he referred to the Virginia college student who stole in North Korea a Thug (which he has yet to answer) insinuates that I am overlooking the theft?
            I am not condoning what they did in the slightest, however, two things. We all probably made some very stupid choices at 17 and 18. None of us really know what happened. There’s been stories from it was a crime spree to one kid did it and the other two didn’t report it. Before we as adults jump to every conclusion and call these 17 and 18 year olds some pretty harsh names, lets see how it plays out.
            There are tens of thousands of college athletes that take full advantage of the education they are given and many more that go back to school once their very small window of opportunity to make a lot of money closes.

          • Marilyn

            Yeah. He just died for stealing a banner, not $400 sunglasses

          • Califoregonean

            So stealing a banner is okay but $400 makes you a thug? Is there some sort of matrix that breaks down the dollar amount that makes you a thug?

          • Henrie

            You won’t see an answer to this question, because it involves him admitting he only speaks this way about black people. Racists are very shy about sharing their deeply held person opinions.

        • Stuck

          Allegedly videotaped. So anonymously sourced information in an ESPN article written by a USC grad = absolute truth in your book? Why would you believe every piece of propaganda put out by the Chinese Government. Where is the video? Have you seen it? If you haven’t seen it and you don’t know all of the facts of the case then how are you qualified to be their internet judge, jury and executioner?

          • Aaron Michiel

            I think that unless someone from the administration or their legal representatives actually views the purported surveillance footage, they should proceed as though it does not exist and the allegation of all three shoplifting from multiple stores — beyond what the players admit to — should be regarded as false.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            Nonsense.

          • Aaron Michiel

            There is a rumor that the videotape/crime spree story was made up by the local police to cover for their mistakes and that those responsible are being disciplined. Not sure which is true, but there are differing accounts.

        • Aaron Michiel

          You went from claiming they were “reportedly” videotaped in your previous reply, to now stating it factually. It’s an anonymously sourced allegation, so I’d stick with reportedly.

          And I wouldn’t characterize a teenager shoplifting sunglasses as a “thug”, much less “bonafide thug”. I would think the term “thug” would be reserved for repeat serious criminals and/or violent offenders and these guys aren’t either.

          Your last sentence just ventures into straight out angry hysteria. Settle down and let’s see how this plays out. I don’t think we’ll really have a clear idea of what occurred until the players are safely back in the US and they, and the school, are free to discuss the matter publicly.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            That may occur months or years from now; and videotaped evidence speaks louder than anything any of them would say.

            What they did was done on foreign soil when they were representing the United States, their Bruin teammates, all Bruins, etc., etc.

            And yes, they are “thugs” who probably never should have been admitted to UCLA. Indeed, their admittances should be investigated thoroughly.

            Lastly, and I repeat, neither UCLA nor any other governmental entity should pay one cent on their behalf. If any monies are paid, those who authorize such payments should be investigated and fired summarily.

          • Aaron Michiel

            We won’t have to wait months or years. Contrary to what you were seemingly hoping for, these guys aren’t heading to a Chinese gulag for lifting a pair of sunglasses. Charges dropped, players heading home. Time for the UCLA administration to weigh in and inform the public as to what they believe actually happened and what consequences should come from it.

            And please, if you can uncover who paid the players expenses and think that warrants summary execution, I mean firing, please hold Dan Guerrero and Gene Block accountable. Please. We’re going to need new football and basketball head coaches soon and I don’t think anyone wants Guerrero making those calls.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            I agree completely with your last sentence.

          • Marilyn

            Trump has as much a sense of right and wrong as these 3 shoplifters. If average US citizens did the same thing he would have none nothing.

      • Marilyn

        Shoplifting in Louise Vuitton? Call it what you like, these 3 bozos at are either arrogant, stupid or both. Expel them.

        • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

          Well said.

      • SVV

        Ah, that race card. YES I WOULD.

        • Califoregonean

          Race Card????? Where did I ever mention race??? I was talking about people calling them Thugs because they play basketball. Stop making assumptions…The world’s a better place when we don’t.

          • SVV

            That North Korea arrest was not at all comparable to this — he was taking a banner for souvenir, not stealing Louis Vittons as a matter of street thug life — but that student was WHITE, whether you said it or not.

          • Califoregonean

            “Ah, that race card” – You
            “but that student was WHITE” – You
            It looks like you are bringing up the race card

            “It is stealing” – You
            Taking a banner is not stealing?
            I wonder what would happen if those 11 banners went missing in Pauley. Would that be stealing?

    • Marilyn

      If I was a UCLA donor that faucet would be turned off permanently.

      • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

        Sadly, because I love UCLA and am an alum, and grew up a mile west of the campus, I agree with you.

        Unless the three “thugs” are expelled, my guess is that lots of alums and non-alum donors will do just that.

        If the coach, AD or Chancellor seeks to “whitewash” what happened in China, they may pay dearly too.

        UCLA is not the “thugish” SC, where O.J. is still lionized.

  • Stuck

    Amazing how many people stand in judgement without knowing any of the facts. If, and this is a big if, they all shoplifted they should be punished for their crimes.

    However all we really know so far is trickles of information coming from the Chinese Police aka propoganda.

    What we know – three bruins are being held in China.

    Anonymously sourced/Chinese propaganda – all three shoplifted in as many as three different stores and there is video evidence.

    Logical guess – if the Chinese really had video evidence of shoplifting they probably would have immediately arrested the UCLA 3, they didn’t they held/interviewed/arrested 3 GT players first.

    Local rumors – Only 1 player stole 1 pair of sunglasses. Only one store was involved. The other 2 are being held for failing to stop their friend from stealing and failing to report the theft. In addition one player who is a minor was treated/held as an adult in violation of Chinese law.

    So why wait for truth or facts, which in this case will likely never come out due to international face saving, when we can sanctimoniously call for expulsions or suspensions now without knowing any of the facts.

    Crazy Social Media Mob Mentality world we live in, isn’t it?

  • robert lass

    This was not a mistake. They didn’t accidentally steal items from the store. This was arrogant sense of entitlement on full display. As a former Bruin, I’m with Bill Walton on this one. I expect the university to suspend them for the year, and bill their families for the accrued expenses.

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      I agree with you, except your last sentence.

      They should be expelled from the school, permanently.

      What they did occurred in China, when they were representing the United States and the American people—you and me, and every other American, and all Bruin students, alums and fans—on foreign soil.

      Indeed, our president was conducting important diplomacy in China and other countries in the region.

      • Aaron Michiel

        How do you extrapolate from the players allegedly shoplifting sunglasses to they “likely never had the grades to be admitted”? Kids with really good grades don’t shoplift?

        • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

          Let the investigations begin; for example, with respect to (1) videotaped evidence, (2) their commission of one or more crimes; (3) any monies paid to them or on their behalf by UCLA or any other governmental agency to date, and in the future; (4) the criteria that were used to admit them to UCLA; etc., etc.

          UCLA alums agree with Bill Walton. These three thugs are a disgrace.

          • La’Shawn Hill

            This sounds more like a racial
            argument than one about merit. If they were white students, would you call them “thugs”? What happened to due process of law? You are innocent until proven guilty. So far there has been a lot of speculation- some say there is video footage while others claim they were simply browsing the area. You do not know what happened, so do not be so quick to pass judgement.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            Yes, if white students did it, I would call them thugs too.

            Perhaps Robert Lass said it best here:

            “This was not a mistake. They didn’t accidentally steal items from the store. This was arrogant sense of entitlement on full display.”

            Thugs.

          • robert lass

            I am not big on calling people thugs, even if they exhibit thuggish behavior. It is a word that is racially charged, and in my view does not advance civil discourse, I try to exhibit the behavior I would like to see from these three, and though their behavior was abominable, I prefer to avoid labels. I do share your outrage though, and am totally sympathetic to your feelings on the matter.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            I grew up a mile west of the campus; and I never thought of one group or race as being indicative of thugs.

            As you know, the NFL players who have taken knees, etc., have been characterized as thugs, primarily because of the brutal nature of the game and the problems in their personal lives.

            At the beach in Santa Monica, two twins provoked fights, and later played football for SC and in the pros. They were white, and thugs.

            Also, at Uni High not far from the UCLA campus, there would be fights after school. Two more white thugs were involved, one of whom went on to become a major movie star.

          • Aaron Michiel

            No, NFL players who take a knee have been characterized by some conservatives and the far right media as thugs because of underlying racism and an attempt to undermine and mis-characterize what the players are actually protesting.

            The term “thug” when you grew up in SoCal decades ago carries a very different meaning than it does today in the context you are using it.

            BTW, you unwittingly demonstrated that you still know what a thug is. You cite twins who started fights (i.e., multiple violent fights) as examples of thugs. Multiple fights = multiple instances of violence = thugs. These guys shoplifted a single time. A single instance of theft = no violence or pattern of violent and/or criminal behavior = not thugs.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            Your arguments make sense, but are not persuasive.

            IF they shoplifted in China, it is likely they have done it before, in the U.S.

            To do it in China, of all places, especially when they were America’s/the Pac-12′s/UCLA’s “goodwill ambassadors,” is criminal AND “thugish.”

          • Aaron Michiel

            Now you are speculating. None of these kids has any sort of criminal record and you cam’t prove that they’v ever taken anything before.

            I would say what they seem to have done was criminal and incredibly, mindbogglingly stupid.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            I agree with your last sentence.

          • AccountableForAll

            Actually, the term thug does not bring an image of a racial minority to mind. Rather it brings the image of gangsters from the 20th century to mind.

          • Aaron Michiel

            Nope, you’re thinking of “goons.”

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            Nope.

          • AccountableForAll

            Goons brings a more cartoonish vision of thugs.

          • Aaron Michiel

            Then goons would definitely be the more appropriate term here since this situation is cartoonish.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            “Criminals” are “cartoonish”?

            With all due respect for your thoughtful comments, this one misses the mark by a wide margin.

          • Aaron Michiel

            I can appreciate that perspective, but when shoplifting has been elevated to Wolf Blitzer discussing it on CNN, TMZ crews trailing the players at LAX, the President of the US taking to Twitter to demand a thank you, and the news networks are providing live coverage of the apology press conference, then yes, this episode is catroonish — or maybe farcical is the more appropriate term.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            I appreciate your thoughtful comments, even though we may disagree.

            These arrogant “Thugs” did not have the common courtesy to thank our President for his efforts. After all, he was in China—with Kim Jong-un’s/North Korea’s nuclear weapons, which may reach LA in an EMP or other attack, at the top of his agenda—and he took time to help them and to use “chits” that might have been used for vastly-more-important purposes.

            Lots of us believe they should have been left in China, for months or years, to reflect on their decision-making and how they have sullied the goodwill of America, the PAC-12, UCLA and their teammates.

            Again, if they are not expelled, Block, the AD and coach should lose their jobs.

          • Wolfman

            how about UCLA shoplifting basket ball clowns

          • robert lass

            What it brings to mind for you is not necessarily what it brings to mind for most people. You and Timothy are certainly entitled to use the term “thug” anytime you’d like, but I think it’s a bit disingenuous to pretend it is not a dog whistle for a large percentage of the population. It’s like saying that the term “Mick” doesn’t bring to mind the Irish but instead a baseball slugger for the Yankees. Please guys.

          • AccountableForAll

            When did this term become exclusively a reference to black criminals?

          • robert lass

            It isn’t exclusive by any means, and keep using it if you want to sound ignorant, And by Thug, I think of the 16th century gang of murderers from the Indian Sub-continent called the Thuggees, But that doesn’t give leave for me to use the word when I know it’s a dog whistle for, well, a less than developed sense of the wonders of the true diverse nature of humanity.

          • AccountableForAll

            Seems to me that the term has been hijacked. I do not need to accept that but I will keep it in mind when the situation calls for sensitivity.

          • AccountableForAll

            BTW: My image for goon is based on: The Goons are a species of tall, strong beings native to Goon Island. Together, they pose a formidable threat for Popeye, who has fought them several times. Cartoonish, yes?

          • Aaron Michiel

            No, more like 1920′s-30′s mobsters from a Cagney movie. Hired goons. Love the Popeye reference though. Where’s Tom Hatten when you need him?

          • SVV

            “Thug” is an Indian (South Asian) word.

          • AccountableForAll

            But it is now hijacked by the race baiters.

          • Walter Matlock

            Well, if it is racially charged, why ? BECAUSE it has been earned, regardless of race. This “Race Thing” is getting old. It doesn’t matter if they are black, white, brown, yellow or green. What they did was wrong and a disgrace, they should be suspended from playing at UCLA.

          • jixiang Ji

            Robert Lass
            Racially charged? lol. Is it snowing or is it just you a snowflake falling down from the sky? lol

          • Aaron Michiel

            An arrogant sense of self-entitlement is not a thug. A thug is a violent criminal. I don’t think you know what a thug is, and you may or may not realize the racial undertones you are expressing by using the term in this context.

          • Marilyn

            I assume these guys have full scholarships including international travel representing UCLA, they are expected to behave as law abiding adults, expel them. By letting them off the hook sends the wrong message.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            Yes, indeed.

            They were America’s/the Pac-12′s/UCLA’s “goodwill ambassadors,” and they trashed us . . . just like the NFL players have been doing.

            No wonder these young “thugs” think they can get away with thefts in foreign countries, when they view the examples set by NFL players (e.g., kneeling, abuse of women).

          • Aaron Michiel

            Agreed. I wanted to leave that off the table, but the labeling of these guys as “thugs” and then questioning whether they had the grades to be admitted to UCLA carries serious racial undertones.

          • SVV

            Ah, the race card. When will people tire of that race card? Race card does not excuse stealing. It is stealing, for crying out loud.

          • Aaron Michiel

            The investigation in China has apparently concluded and the Chinese have dropped the charges and the players are en route home.

            As to UCLA’s own investigation:

            (1) There is serious reason to question whether any videotape evidence exists and whether the players did actually shoplift from multiple stores. If there is such video evidence and the UCLA administration has seen it, then the players should all be expelled. Otherwise, this allegation should be dismissed as false.

            (2) Agreed as above. Their discipline should vary heavily depending on whether it was just a pair of sunglasses or multiple items from multiple stores. The administration needs to make that determination.

            (3) I’m going to save you some of your time with this one and assume that to the extent there were additional charges in China as a result of this investigation and the players staying three days longer than their teammates, the school covered it. I’d love to see Dan Guerrero and/or Gene Block fired, so if you have a problem with this, I hope you pursue enforcing your anger.

            (4) I think if you are going to investigate the criteria under which these players were admitted, then you need to investigate the entire admissions process for UCLA scholarship athletes, regardless of gender or race. But this is really you just irrationally conflating issues, so pretty much I would just tell you to not hold your breath.

            I’m a UCLA alum and so is my wife. I am thoroughly embarrassed by what they may have done, and the negative attention they brought to the school. I think the players deserve suspensions if all they did was steal sunglasses (which seems to have been admitted to), it’s really just a question of how long. As I said above, if what they did was more extensive then expulsion should be on the table. My issue is that I want to know exactly what happened before jumping to the sentence. You are a lawyer, so you should appreciate that.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            Your comments are well taken.

            All of us who are alums were stunned by their actions, to say the least.

          • Jbrozic

            They should be suspended for a long while or even expelled, maybe. But “thugs”? Aren’t you getting a little carried away?

          • AD Mac

            Thugs? Please post any evidence that these boys, ages 18, 18, and 19, were thugs… I’ll wait.

          • jixiang Ji

            yep, as a Bruin, also as a Chinese, I strongly believe that they should be expelled. People have been expelled for less.

        • Npcoach

          You think these kids had 4.0 GPAs in all honor classes like the huge majority of UCLA incomng freshman?

          • Aaron Michiel

            No, I think these student-athletes were admitted under relaxed admissions standards just like every other scholarship athlete at UCLA.

          • Marilyn

            With a few exceptions bug college athletes are admitted to keep the alum money rolling in, they are not expected to become Nobel prize winners

          • SVV

            Except it has been demonstrated that athletics isn’t even a net money maker for schools. SOME — very few — alums donate because of sports, and there’s television revenues, but the expenses are HUGE, from exorbitant coach salaries to “scholarships”, prostitutes and drugs used to recruit the athletes, to stadium and facilities maintenance expenses. Plus, most lesser known sports just plain lose money but must be kept up because of Title IX. Schools that have NO sports or lousy sports — MIT, UChicago, Columbia — do just fine financially. College athletics is a disgrace.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            That should end.

            They are like “semi-pros,” and act like them.

          • Marilyn

            You don’t need 4.0 to know the difference between right and wrong. Send them to community college, let them earn their education like the rest of us did. They should expel them.

          • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

            Well said again.

        • Henrie

          It’s almost like the three players have something in common that could make an old white man think they don’t deserve to be in college. Hmm…what could it be?

        • michael arazan

          Allegedly? They were caught on video which lead to their arrest. But with China’s censorship laws of control, it’ll probably never leak like everything else does here in the US.

      • robert lass

        I would not be against taking that stance, although I believe in a path to redemption. There is a lot of merit in what you are saying…we are on the same page.

      • Sue Saunders

        Our president has admitted to sexual assault so he shouldn’t be in China leading any meeting. Furthermore, your assumption about three Black athletes, “and it is likely that they never had the grades to be admitted in the first place, which should be investigated thoroughly too,” smacks of racism. Luckily, in the US it is innocent until proven guilty, so let’s not convict them just yet. Why were students off in China, missing important classes to promote the NCAA anyway? Seems to be there are lots of mistakes being made by all parties involved, including draconian prison times for shoplifting in China.

        • j y

          Sue Saunders please stop lying! He has never admitted to “sexual assault”. The three criminals were humbled and need to look down and thank Trump for the rest of their lives! Stop being so opinionated about another culture that you know nothing about.

    • Jacquelyn Kaster

      As another UCLA alumna, I agree fully! Actions by their very nature must have consequences.

  • Larry Reemtsen

    I agree with Hanson. I know they were well tutored on the perils of activities that can embarrass the players the college and the country, this is over the top in your face bad. Thank them for trying out but they missed the cut.

    • Marilyn

      Give me a break. These are adults, stop making lame excuses for them. Privileged athletes acting like spoiled children.

      • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

        Acting like “thugs” from LA.

  • Npcoach

    This episode is ridiculous on so many levels. Supposedly, California law prevents tax dollars being used for UCLA athletes to travel to Texas, because of bathroom policies, but apparently China is okay. You can’t take a recruit to Disneyland, but once they come you can take them out of school for a week for foreign travel, Disneyland, sight seeing, etc.

    Assuming the allegations are true, any player stupid enough to steal in a foreign country is too stupid to be a student at UCLA. As an honored guest of AliBaba, it is hard to imagine that the Chinese government would be rousting these kids on phony charges. Maybe it is mistaken identity. Perhaps it was some local 6’7″ black kids mistaken for the UCLA trio.

    As for the argument that the players made a mistake, what does that mean? They thought the other guy paid? They thought it was part of their running tab? They didn’t know where the checkout counter was? Getting caught is not a mistake. “Accidentally” stealing luxury goods is not a mistake.

    At the very least, if guilty, they should be expelled.

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Among your many valid points, you stated:

      “Assuming the allegations are true, any player stupid enough to steal in a foreign country is too stupid to be a student at UCLA.”

      This may be the very essence, which is why the admission process relating to each of them must be investigated thoroughly . . . among other investigations.

    • Marilyn

      Expel if guilty. Apparently it was multiple items on videotape. IF that is true expulsion is only path forward, there are thousands of great basketball players out there, these guys can be replaced.

      • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

        Replaced in a nanosecond; and the same thing is true of the Chancellor, AD and coach.

  • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

    What is most bizarre is that e-mail messages arrived today from UCLA, (1) one from the UCLA Office of Gift Planning entitled “Avoid taxes on your IRA Required Minimum Distribution,” and (2) another from the UCLA Wooden Athletic Fund entitled “Support UCLA Student-Athletes During The Blue & Gold Challenge.”

    Why would anyone give one cent until it is established beyond a doubt that neither UCLA, the UC nor any other governmental entity assisted these three thugs in any way?

    • Exit Pursued By A Bear

      In America we are protected by the 8th Amendment to the constitution against “cruel and unusual punishments” and “excessive bail.” Those protections do not apply in China. A fundamental principle of justice is that the punishment should fit the crime. In a foreign country, without that being guaranteed it is appropriate for the university to protect it’s students from punishments of a severity they would not face back home.

      I agree with Bill Walton that these actions are an embarrassment to the human race, but these kids failure to live up proper standards does not mean we should surrender our own notions of decency and fairness by dolling out reactionary outsized punishments. I believe this is part of the point Califoregonean is making about North Korea.

      • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

        Your comments are logical, but I respectfully disagree.

        American law should not apply to the players. They and all other athletes should be taught a lesson, not to commit crimes in other countries when they are America’s/the Pac-12′s/UCLA’s “goodwill ambassadors.”

        Their “thugish” conduct might fly in LA, but not abroad.

        They should be expelled from UCLA, period.

        • Esteban

          All this discussion about thugs is funny. I would call them the three STOOGES. But thug rhymes with more words so you can make little poems about three thugs who hug together snug as a bug in a rug with beer to chug from a mug in the hole they dug for themselves. My pug shoulda been a boxer.

  • John

    As a former Bruin, what a shame!

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Once a Bruin, always a Bruin! :-)

  • x_bruindodger_x

    Suspend them for one year only? That would be a slap on the wrist. They need to be kicked out of school. Normal students get expelled for much less.

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Well said too.

      Or fire the Chancellor, the AD and coach . . . all of whom probably need to be fired anyway.

  • Marilyn

    Expel them, they are criminals. An ordinary US citizen would have no chance of being rescued by POTUS. These are elite athletes not destitute homeless people, no integrity, no sense of right and wrong, disgusting.

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Well said.

  • Kelly Verges

    Meanwhile Lavar Ball had this to say………NOT. A. THING. #Crickets

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Imagine what the Lakers have to endure with him. Ugh!

      At least he was in China for a while, which got him out of their hair.

  • A. Baca

    We are a family of Bruins. Coach John Wooden would have kicked them off the team immediately. They don’t deserve to represent UCLA in any capacity !!! Chancellor Block, should not allow these men to get away with a hand slap. A shame for our country and for UCLA. We are watching !!.

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Well said.

      If Block does not expel them, he should be fired immediately.

  • https://www.cpusa.org Lev Bronshtein

    Wish the Chinese had given them a taste of…slave labor, for the lulz

  • Dingus Rattenberg

    Compare the muted response to this story with the media’s frenzied coverage of Ryan Lochte at the Rio Olympics. If you’ll recall, we were all told that Lochte was some entitled thug whose crime–allegedly vandalizing a bathroom–resulted in private Brazilian security guards drawing their sidearms on Lochte and demanding that he immediately hand over cash “remuneration.” Lochte rightly complained that he had been robbed, but the American media sided with the Brazilian government (a corrupt socialist bordello), insisting that the rent-a-cop shakedown was legitimate justice. A later USA Today investigation vindicated Lochte, but you probably didn’t hear a peep about it. By the way, where was Obama while our athletes were being mugged by Brazilian gangsters? No doubt busy oiling Michelle’s crankshaft.

    Now here come these three hoodrats who decide to knock over a Chinese sunglass hut. Guess what happens? Trump himself intervenes to spare them 10 years hard labor in the iPhone mines. What are we supposed to do? Applaud?

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Like Bill Clinton before him, hopefully Barack has better things to do with his time than to “oil” Moochie’s “crankshaft.”

      Read his book, “Dreams from My Father,” and you will realize that he had countless women before her, and may “hit the trail” with Bubba in the not-too-distant future.

  • SVV

    They stole from SEVERAL stores. And from the video, they are OLD HANDS at this. We are talking about experienced thugs acting on reflex here.

    And it’s like the Harvey Weinstein scandal here. C’mon, everyone knew. The team knows. The coach knows. The atheltic department knows. UCLA must clean house.

    These thugs are serving as role models to millions of young Black males. This is not acceptable. Expel them immediately!

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Well said.

      All should contact UCLA’s Chancellor Block and demand their expulsion . . . or his exit from the school.

  • SVV

    Email Chancellor Block (chancellor-at-ucla.dot.edu) and demand their expulsion!

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Thank you.

  • HighInformationVoter

    Stupid Chinese. Don’t they know these are the descendants of slaves, and entitled to a lifetime without consequences and accountability?

    • https://www.cpusa.org Lev Bronshtein

      It’s one of the 10 Commandments, for crying out loud

  • BobBobBall

    Two words. Cam Newton. This is a great story of redemption after making a very bad decision in his sophomore year in college.

    Maybe these kids could benefit from a year or two at the juco level to appreciate just how fortunate they are not to be in a Chinese prison.

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Having gotten off, they probably think it was owed to them.

  • BobBobBall

    THUG /: a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.

    Tupac didn’t invent this word. It isn’t being used as a racial sterotype. It dates back hundreds of years to India and s rogue gang who roamed the streets committing atrocities. For someone to imply this word is a racial stereotype only demonstrates their ignorance of the English language or their apparent youth.

    There are racial insensitive words but “thug” when used to describe a thief, is the correct use of the word.

    • http://www.naegele.com/ Timothy D. Naegele

      Thanks for the clarification. Well done.

  • Wolfman

    these (3) UCLA shoplifting basketball clowns should all be expelld

  • AD Mac

    Whatever they do to the freshman, they should also do to the upperclassmen who possibly put them up to it as a rookie hazing dare. Hazing in NCAA D1 athletics must end. If those upperclassmen have any sliver of integrity, they would own up to their role in the matter.