I am quite positive you heard the story over the weekend coming out of UCLA. The story of three UCLA freshman basketball players being detained in China because they shoplifted.
It took awhile but they are finally coming home, but the embarrassing story isn’t over. What do the Bruins do with them now? What would you do if you were the Athletic Director at UCLA?
LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday after being confined to their Hangzhou hotel for a week on suspicion of shoplifting during UCLA’s recent visit, but their saga continues. There was one media report that the players were caught on surveillance video stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store, and another that they shoplifted from several stores.
The question now is, will they be allowed to return to the basketball court? UCLA knows what happened. And if the players had any sort of involvement in something so entitled-oriented and stupid while on a school trip to a foreign country, UCLA’s next move should be clear. A season-long suspension.
If this does take place, Ball would likely leave school altogether, considering his blustery father LaVar has already said that his son would only play one season. This could also mean that his little brother LaMelo, currently a high school junior, would not eventually enroll in UCLA as planned. UCLA should look at this as a chance to get itself out of the Ball business. No athletic department should be beholden to a family like UCLA has been to the Ball family since Lonzo Ball, now a Los Angeles Laker, walked on campus last year.
I will close with how privileged the Ball children must feel they are. Last week, after the shoplifting allegations surfaced, the father, LaVar Ball, told ESPN: “Everybody is making it a big deal. It ain’t that big of a deal.’’ Really now. Well it became a big deal, an international deal, and if a crime has been committed, here’s hoping UCLA properly deals with it.
Cam Newton is back. And he seems to be having fun again. That, in itself, should tell you that the Carolina Panthers are winning football games again.
Newton and the Panthers had plenty of fun on Monday Night football as they blew out the Miami Dolphins, 45-21.
Carolina, now 7-3 overall, turned in perhaps their most complete game of the season with a balanced offensive attack and a stiff defense.
The Panthers have now won three straight entering their bye week to keep pace with the red-hot Saints (7-2) in the NFC South. Carolina is starting to run the ball more which is opening up the passing attack.
How open was the passing attack you ask? Newton threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another 95 yards. Do you think the running game set up the pass? Well, Jonathan Stewart had 110 yards on 17 carries as the Panthers rolled up 294 rushing yards against the NFL’s seventh-ranked rush defense.