Lonzo Ball is happy his brother, LiAngelo Ball, has come home.
LiAngelo and two UCLA teammates were arrested for shoplifting on a team trip to China. All three copped to being guilty, and the charges have since been dropped. Lonzo, a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers, had the following to say on the matter, per Tania Ganfuli of Los Angeles Times:
Lonzo Ball hasn't seen his brother LiAngelo yet. "Nice to have him back," he said. "Obviously he made a mistake, but just gotta learn from it and move on."
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 15, 2017
LiAngelo also apologized for his mistake, per the Associated Press (via USA Today):
“I’m sorry for stealing from the stores in China,” said Ball, the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, who played last season at UCLA.
“I’ve learned my lesson from this big mistake and I’m a hundred percent sure I’ll never make a mistake like this again. It’s going to make a better person from here on out.”
President Donald Trump apparently played a role, however instrumental, in securing the boys’ release. LiAngelo thanked POTUS for helping at his press conference:
Donald Trump got the thanks he wanted from LiAngelo Ball and company. pic.twitter.com/hoXiCAaz7f
— Josh Sánchez (@jnsanchez) November 15, 2017
Of course, the president thanked himself before that:
Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017
UCLA officials are still debating how to properly “discipline” LiAngelo and his teammates, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, according to ESPN.com’s Arash Markazi. As of now, all three players have been suspended indefinitely.
Whatever the punishment ultimately becomes, it’s important these players be given an opportunity to move on. Yes, the decision to shoplift in a foreign country was reckless and stupid. But we’re talking about kids. And kids make mistakes. They’ve already been publicly shamed and lampooned for their actions. People calling for them to be suspended for the entire year are, quite frankly, out of their minds.
Indeed, it looks bad that the United States government needed to use resources to help resolve the matter. But the president, as it is, has time to tweet and rant about NFL players. This hardly torpedoes his schedule.
Make no mistake: LiAngelo, Hill and Riley should be disciplined. But, as Lonzo said, they should now be given the chance to “learn from it and move on”—emphasis on move on.