DEBBIE NORRELL

My mother always told me not to touch anything that wasn’t mine. These were her words of wisdom when I started a career in banking. Her words still play in my head often. I wonder if parents give their children this same type of advice, and I wonder if LaVar Ball gave his son any advice before he headed to China to play ball last month.

By now we have all heard the story—LiAngelo Ball and two of his UCLA teammates allegedly touched something that was not theirs and were caught. President Trump got involved and he says he was the one who got the players released, the senior Ball says NOT. Then President Trump gets into a trash talk battle with LaVar Ball, calling the blowhard basketball dad an “ungrateful fool” for downplaying his role in freeing Ball’s son from Chinese criminal custody. Trump’s Twitter tirade followed Ball’s assertion days earlier that the President had little to do with the release of LiAngelo Ball and two UCLA teammates after they were arrested on shoplifting charges during a China road trip. “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father Lavar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence—IT WAS ME,” Trump tweeted. “LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair,” Trump wrote. Trump also tweeted that shoplifting in China is a big deal and called the senior Ball an ungrateful fool.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but this is one time that I agree with Trump. I think shoplifting anywhere is a big deal but especially when you are a guest in another country and for the incident to be brushed off as not a big deal is crazy on the dad’s part. Before this incident happened I watched a story on the Ball family and the dad seems to be quite full of himself.

Let’s get back to what they stole. It all happened in the Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel where the young men were staying. The sunglasses in the Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou are priced at or around 4,900 yuan ($750). According to Chinese law, anyone stealing goods worth between 4,000 and 7,000 yuan faces between one and two years in jail, although the sentence can be mitigated if they confess, show remorse and pay compensation.

To me this sounds like a big deal. I would not try anything like this in a place where I could not speak the language. There is little chance of talking your way out of it. This could have ended up like the incident when the young man ripped down the poster in N. Korea. He finally came home but died soon thereafter.

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