That was LaVar Ball’s response Friday when ESPN asked him about President Donald Trump’s role in getting his son and two other UCLA freshmen out of some hot water in China.
“What was he over there for?” Ball said. “Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine,” Ball added. “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.”
Trump, never one to back down, had been unusually quiet immediately following the elder Ball’s comments.
Not surprisingly, that changed Sunday when Trump fired back on his favorite social media platform.
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
Trump, clearly miffed at Ball’s lack of appreciation, brought up some very good points.
First, why downplay Trump’s role in the release of the UCLA freshmen? Whether you love or despise Trump, if he played any role in the release of the three UCLA players in China, a simple “thank you” seems somewhat appropriate.
Second, Ball should be called out for claiming that shoplifting sunglasses is not a big deal.
It’s one thing for a child to steal a candy bar from the local convenience store. They’re young and naive. The child should be punished and a harsh lesson should be learned regardless, but there is some semblance of understanding.
It’s another thing entirely for an adult (if someone is old enough to vote, they are an adult) to steal sunglasses that are likely worth thousands of dollars while in a foreign country.
Ball claiming that he’s seen much worse than a pair of sunglasses being stolen in Los Angeles doesn’t make a “lesser” case of shoplifting any more OK.
Ball’s middle son, LiAngelo Ball, as well as fellow freshmen Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested in China after shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store.
All three UCLA freshmen expressed remorse and thanked Trump for helping.
The three players have all been suspended indefinitely by UCLA. The school has yet to set an official length for the suspension. It is being reported that they could be suspended anywhere from half a season to the full season.