Coach Gary Edwards Column 11-19-17
There is no getting around it. The 45th President of the United States just loves to tweet.
He will tweet in the morning. He will tweet in the evening. He will tweet all over this land.
He will tweet out danger. He will tweet out warning. He will tweet out love between my brothers and my sisters…ok, ok, now I am losing my head.
But this week Donald Trump took the time to tweet about the three UCLA basketball players who were detained in China for shoplifting. They had the opportunity to shoplift in China because UCLA was there to play Georgia Tech in a basketball game sponsored by the e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba.
“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you, Mr. President? They were headed for 10 years in jail.”
And just when I thought pigs couldn’t fly, the three UCLA basketball players, at a press conference held on the UCLA campus the day after their return, did indeed thank the President for helping in their expedited release.
One of the three, LiAngelo Ball, is the son of Lavar Ball, patriarch of the basket Ball family and founder of the Big Baller Brand of shoes and apparel. He likes to tweet, too, but prefers to verbalize his ignorant musings.
At the time of his son’s arrest, he commented, “Everybody is making it a big deal…it ain’t a big deal.”
So I was shocked when the three players humbly accepted responsibility for their actions, admitted how stupid an act it was, and thanked the many people who did indeed keep their collective butts out of a Shanghai prison.
But leave it to UCLA coach Steve Alford and Athletic Director Dan Guerrero to bring me back to reality. When discussing the punishment for these young men, Coach Alford said the three would be suspended “indefinitely.”
Where have we heard that before? That’s right, less than a year ago Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski suspended star guard Grayson Allen “indefinitely” for being a serial tripper out on the court.
That indefinite suspension lasted one game, a game Duke lost to Virginia Tech. And Coach Krzyzewski, a guy who is supposed to be a master coach and educator, squandered an opportunity for real teaching.
Let’s hope Steve Alford and all the good folks at UCLA don’t squander this opportunity for teaching. I hope they understand their responsibility not only to the students at their own institution, but to the young people of this country and to others around the world.
They are not off to a good start. A year’s suspension would have been a clear message. An indefinite suspension whispers so softly I can hardly hear it.
But we will wait and see. When I know more I will be sure to send out a tweet.
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