No longer does a full ride scholarship, including tuition, rooms and meals, apparently satisfy the basic requirements of a NCAA Division 1 athlete. Without jumping face-first into the exhausting debate of whether or not college sports players should be compensated, as a result of the billions of dollars pouring into the coffers of athletic departments from television and supporting non-revenue generating sports, the alleged troubling actions of a trio of UCLA basketball players in China, may have major ramifications on the future of amateur sports, if not society.
In a disturbing series of events transpiring in Hangzhou, China (a suburb of Shanghai), Fox News reports that three members of the Bruin’s men’s basketball team were arrested by authorities Tuesday, on suspicion of stealing luxury sun glasses. Reports suggest that over twenty Chinese law enforcement professionals swarmed the boutique hotel, where the UCLA team and Georgia Tech are staying, as the college basketball season commences in Shanghai Friday. Authorities interviewed members of both teams, before arresting and detaining LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill. The players were later released Wednesday on bail and remain at the hotel pending the completion of the legal process. Shockingly, Bruin head coach Steve Alford made an announcement to the media, that the three will not participate in the game. (This is far from the tradition that the late and great John Wooden established in Westwood.) The consensus from experts of Chinese law is that this is just the beginning of a long and drawn out courtroom nightmare for the players and their families.
If embarrassment and indefinite confinement to a five star hotel is not punishment enough, the offending student athletes failed to research or acknowledge that China claims the global title for the highest amount of public and private surveillance equipment per capita, as the government bolstered spying efforts and citizens and tourists by installing 20 MILLION high definition state of the art cameras rigged with face recognition technology, earlier this year. If the OCD emphasis of the government to invade the privacy of any selected individual on Chinese soil is not enough emphasize practicing basic common sense, the glaring reputation of the communist controlled nation and the indiscretions throughout modern history should have deterred the scholarship winners from committing any indiscretions. Finally, what happened to the whole idea of representing the proud traditions and flag of the United States by showing respect as visitors, for the culture and history of another country? In defense of the young men, this could possibly be a warning shot across the bow of Trump’s White House, but the idea of fabricating charges is highly unlikely, as the Chinese government just allowed the President the rare honor of exclusive visitation privileges to the Forbidden City.
No, this a clear cut case of witche’s brew of multitudinous and complex societal factors that are indicative of a regression in the overall IQ in the US, thanks to forced and natural selective processes. First and foremost is the blatant entitlement of student athletes, especially prized recruits, who are born with a plethora of athletic talents, which are highly sought after by aggressive scouts, packs of which scour the nation’s playgrounds for the next great King of the hardwood. This is the tip of the proverbial iceberg of a multi-billion dollar industry, fueled by the talents limited to hundreds, and branded and embellished by the marketing geniuses responsible for creating the monster cash cow of the sports shoe as a luxury item. There exists a blatant and soiled side to college sports that will forever be relevant to the mechanism of the game, as long as fans continue to expect a high level of performance. The loss of integrity is the consequence of the reality.
The trio of the next generation of high flying street ball legends to be, who were graciously arrested in connection with the possibility of heisting Louis Vuitton shades, are all recognized blue chip recruits, and have yet to begin their audition for the stage of the National Basketball Association. With the incessant stream of “yes” men and women bombarding their lives, as well as the countless daily affirmations of validation from contemporaries, did the thought even cross their minds, that they were playing with fate by attempting theft in a totalitarian regime, or is this an epidemic of the younger generations, where the digital divide and prevalence of virtually reality, as literally wiped out basic survival instincts and the presence of common sense?
The sad silver lining to this while twisted narrative is that the father of LiAngelo Ball, is none other than son of the polarizing, blathering and at times entertaining, LaVar Ball, a man who claims he could defeat Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one back in the glory days. The elder Ball’s response to his son’s confinement in a Chinese police station for a potential serious sentence says it all, “He’ll be fine.” Does this insinuate that LaVar will bestow a glamorous participation trophy for his progeny in the wake of the foiled heist, that was captured with multiples angles by angry Maoist smart spy cameras? Hopefully, there is a lesson in accountability where the shadows of the reality television cameras overlap with personal lives.
As the victim mentality continues to waver like a pathetic and tattered piece of clothing hanging in the baleful winds of fabricated and lucrative insanity, the efforts of the rule abiding and over qualified prospective students in the realm of higher education, continue to take a backseat to the politicized and well-funded tedious experiment of college admission placement engineering. While a trip to China may be the absolute highlight on an individual’s scholarly journey to a successful life, when the experience is categorized as a requirement for reparations, the entire world suffers a loss in the game of progress.
Whether or not these student athletes will “represent” the Chinese national basketball team as “honorary” members of the Peoples’ Liberation Army at the upcoming World Cup, is a question only Yao Ming can answer. Currently, the legal team representing the players is working feverishly to avoid the alternative punishment of being forced to travel along side Bill Walton, on a six month grand tour of the Yangtze River canyons in discovering the jaded and effulgent pathway to eternal enlightenment, as the muted hippy tunes of the Grateful Dead drown out the austere and rigid political currents of the regime, and transform the travelers eons away, to the communes and stagnant wispy air of the height of the disco era in Portland, and the rhythmic discourse stifling the dimensions of freedom beyond the sliding door of the apple green shaded VW bus.
Read the entire Fox News article here.