Donald Trump and his critics have shown an amazing lack of grace
Although I love watching sports, time is finite, meaning we all must draw the line somewhere. I drew mine at LaVar Ball. When he appears on television, or the conversation on ESPN turns to him, I change channels.
Even in an era of shameless self-promotion, Ball stands out. A washout as a college basketball player, he also failed to make the grade in professional football. Then he married, raised three basketball-playing sons, and found his true calling: capitalizing on his boys’ athletic abilities. Ball formed a sports apparel company built around them and conjured up a reality television show for Facebook. To gin up publicity, he makes outrageous statements such as trashing his sons’ coaches, invoking racist stereotypes about their teammates, and directing sexist rants at female sportswriters.
This is what I’ve tried to avoid. Then LaVar’s second son, a freshman on UCLA’s basketball team, was one of three Bruin players arrested for shoplifting a pair of $750 Louis Vuitton sunglasses during a team trip to China. Stealing is a big deal there, and the young men were looking at jail time. Until help arrived from an unlikely source. On his Asian trip, President Trump raised the matter with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who interceded.
Now here was a feel-good story. At a time of U.S.-China tensions, President Xi’s gesture of conciliation was a possible harbinger of Chinese cooperation on a much more important matter, namely North Korea’s nuclear program. Also, the Donald showed that his deal-making abilities honed in the private sector are applicable to the presidency after all. And three young men who erred returned home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. The players, their coach and the head of the Pac-12 conference thanked Trump, who appeared to have done something selfless. It seemed some much-needed grace had seeped into our […]