Select Page

It happens all the time. A celebrity or athlete gets into trouble. The incident draws attention to himself or herself or, in the case of an athlete, the team, coaches and school/franchise (the latter if you’re talking semi-pro or pro sports).

The recent incident of three freshmen UCLA basketball players arrested for theft in China before a basketball game against Georgia Tech brought controversy to the school’s program and the United States. Fortunately, the young men are back on American soil thanks to negotiations between the U.S. and Chinese governments. The players could have faced up to 10 years in prison in the Communist country.

On Wednesday (Nov. 15, 2017), the players faced the media and issued public apologetic statements. They basically called their actions wrong, apologized for shaming their school, team and country. Their coach also addressed the media with a prepared statement, noting that the young men would face team suspensions. How long those suspensions will last remain unknown as of this blog entry.

In this case, the call for suspension works. The players need to be held accountable for their actions. As stated many times in other incidents involving young athletes, they are held to a higher standard, representing their school, community and, in this case, country. Younger fans look up to these players. Some hope to be like them someday.

Their coach said the three will need to work their way back to team membership through words and actions, and rightfully so. From this perspective, suspend them for this basketball season. Should they redeem themselves by staying out of trouble, maintaining good grades and conducting community service, allow them to resume pre-season workouts and practices for the 2018-19 season. Some might consider it too light or too harsh. Opinions vary.

It was noted that all three young men never had criminal records. If this is the first offense, make it their last. Give them one more chance to redeem themselves. Some don’t even get that opportunity.

Call this another example of what not to do and to make good choices.