LaVar Ball, the father of one of the UCLA players who was recently released from Chinese custody thanks to President Trump, has shown the Commander-In-Chief an eerie lack of appreciation. As noted by The Hill, LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were arrested by Chinese law enforcement officers after allegedly shoplifting from a series of high-end stores. As a result of this, the trio of UCLA players were facing serious jail sentences. Following a conversation between President Trump’s and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Ball, Riley, and Hill were permitted to return to America.
Shortly after their arrival, Ball, Riley, and Hill held a press conference, apologized for their actions, and thanked President Trump and the U.S. government for their intervention. However, LiAngelo Ball’s father, LaVar Ball, took a different approach.
When ESPN asked the elder Ball about his thoughts on President Trump getting his son out of Chinese prison, Ball responded with the following remarks:
“Who? What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
Many Americans were shocked by Ball’s cavalier, arrogant attitude, noting that were it not for the President, Ball’s son and the other two UCLA players would still be in jail. Furthermore, they questioned why Ball was not more appreciative, stating that if President Trump had gotten their children out of a Chinese prison, they would be more than thankful.
President Trump apparently didn’t care for Ball’s lack of appreciation either because he tweeted out the following message on Sunday:
“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!”
The tweet prompted mixed feedback. Many people sided with the President, noting their understanding of his justified frustration with Ball’s attitude. However, others held an opposing point of view, alleging that it was immature for President Trump to tweet something of that nature. Furthermore, they also noted that the three UCLA players did thank the President during their press conference and questioned whether the Commander-In-Chief was aware of this.
However, the issues of LaVar Ball did not stop with his original remarks regarding President Trump. As a matter of fact, Ball doubled down on his lack of appreciation on Monday night during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
First, Ball aggressively asked why President Trump happened to be in China at the same time as the three UCLA players:
“What was he even over there for in the first place? What I'm trying to say is, it's not like he was in the US and said, ‘there’s three kids in China, I need to go over there and get em.’ That wasn't the thought process,” ranted Ball.
“I don't have to go around saying ‘thank you’ to everybody. He didn't call me. I didn’t shake his hand. He didn’t have to say nothin’, but I'm just sayin’. I have to know what somebody is doing before I say ‘thank you.’ I'm not just going to go around saying thank you.”
Cuomo, who is no fan of President Trump by any stretch of the imagination, then pointed out that had the Commander-In-Chief not spoken to the Chinese President, Ball’s son and the other players could have faced some serious jail time - Ball didn’t see it this way. He criticized the President for not bringing his son, Riley, and Hill back to America on Air Force One, also noting that the players were in “a hotel” and “not jail.”
“I'll tell you this. If I'm coming to get you, let's say I'm coming to get you out of trouble. You best believe I am going to take you with me.”
“First of all, they weren't in jail, they was in a hotel. Now, how did they get to the hotel on bail? Somebody had to do something ... If he helped, I'd say ‘thank you.’”
Ball then continued to ask what President Trump “did for” his son. When Cuomo explained that the Commander-In-chief spoke to Chinese President Jinping, Ball simply stated that he was not going to thank everyone and also claimed he spoke to people who “did some things too.” Finally, Ball stated that if anyone was deserving of a thank you, it was the Chinese President.
Ball’s refusal to acknowledge President Trump’s role in his son’s return to America is utterly absurd. Many people who viewed Ball’s CNN interview with Chris Cuomo questioned Ball’s intelligence and noted that he didn’t seem to be following the conversation very well. Others questioned why Ball’s obvious disdain for President Trump appears greater than his appreciation to have his son back home and not incarcerated in a faraway Chinese prison.