The three knuckleheads said "I'm sorry" for being caught stealing items in China,
The head coach said "I'm sorry" I have to indefinitely suspend the three knuckleheads from basketball … which means "until Pac-12 conference play starts."
The AD said "I'm sorry"I have to return my BBB shoes back to LaVar so he can give them to Trump.
I'm sorry we all had to listen to a news conference from UCLA written by some sorry lawyers out of a scripted book saying "I'm sorry."
I'm a proud Bruin and I like seeing my school winning games. But not at the expense of moral integrity. The three basketball players seem poised to get a lesson that if you're talented enough, you can get away with a crime, with few consequences. They have brought embarrassment on the school and should be suspended for the entire season. If they choose to transfer to another school, that's worth it to do the right thing. Point them toward that ethically challenged school across town.
Thanks for Bill Plaschke's stories on the UCLA basketball thieves. We live in an ethics-free zone these days, where criminal behavior is frequently discounted as a "mistake," or "no big deal." It's depressing that our institutions of so-called higher learning have abdicated their moral position in society in the name of money — which is precisely what UCLA has done, no matter the dissembling baloney about "young men deserving second chances." I often disagree with Mr. Plaschke's positions, but this time he's spot-on.
Imagine this: Gelo Ball comes to the news apology conference wearing a BBB shirt. UCLA would've screamed bloody murder about exploiting this sacred national apology. But UCLA brings the three players to the microphones with Under Armour shirts in our faces (Under Armour gave UCLA $280 mIllion) … and Dan Guerrero has the unmitigated gall to lecture us about Bruin "values." You cannot plumb the depths of hypocrisy in college athletics!
Robotically reading a prepared statement is one thing. Accomplishing the actual follow-through is another. If LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill truly wanted to make heartfelt amends, all three should be obligated to stay in school until after their junior years at UCLA. If that sounds a bit excessive in temporarily postponing those enticing NBA riches, think of the alternative; they could've spent those three years behind bars in a Chinese prison. Actions speak louder than words; there shouldn't be a peep of complaining of how long the suspensions last, and heartily cheering the team on from the bench should only fuel their desire to do well once they're reinstated.
People should know what happens when you unleash a Ball in a China shop.
Since LiAngelo Ball had some shopping problems in China, I just can't believe the deafening silence from his father LaVar. It's like music to my ears.
As a UCLA alum, I was hoping Steve Alford would send Pat Haden to LAX to pick up his three players.
UCLA had a unique opportunity regarding the China shoplifting incident to be a beacon of light as one of the most highly respected college basketball programs history. However, I do not see where this approach taken by UCLA leadership would fit into the John Wooden Pyramid of Success.
If John Wooden was in charge you'd never see UCLA basketball players getting arrested in foreign countries for stealing designer sunglasses. Nope, Sam Gilbert would get sunglasses for them while Wooden looked the other way.
As everyone contemplates the most appropriate punishment for the three shoplifting UCLA basketball players, I think I have a solution. Force them to attend the final two UCLA football games and stay to the very end. That would be punishment enough!
UCLA alumni and fans are ungrateful. They are setting up Go Fund Me campaigns to fly "fire Jim Mora" banners over the campus and the Rose Bowl. Last time I checked, Mora had a one game winning streak going. In Westwood that calls for a three-year extension. Fight on.
Winning is not everything. Coach Jim Mora is a quality man and a leader. This has shown through time and time again as he's faced the adversity that comes with the position as coach. I am proud to be a Bruin with him at the helm and know that he will bring us back to our days of glory. But what has most impressed me is how he remains positive about his players and never puts them down. I'm rooting for him to stay at UCLA for a long, long time and know that with him there we have a coach that because of his personal characteristics we can be proud of him. And, most importantly, his players love and respect him. Go Bruins!
Congratulations to the USC football team for winning the South division of the Pac12, despite the Trojans' habitual episodes of shoddy and undisciplined play. Now all coach Clay Helton has to do is convince his charges that blocking, tackling, and pass defense are permitted, and that a game consists of four quarters, not just two or three.
Pranks a lot
Thanks for unraveling the mystery of the 1957 USC-UCLA card-switch caper, a classic college prank. Not to brag, but Cornell University is also famed for inventive jokes — most recently 1997's overnight impalement of a pumpkin atop the 137-foot-high library spire.
I participated in an earlier operation. The Cornell Sun had a little tradition —creating a joke edition of a rival's newspaper and substituting it on subscribers' doorsteps. Syracuse was victimized in the fifties and Yale in the nineties. In 1965 on the day of a Cornell-Princeton basketball game, Princetonians awoke to read that Bill Bradley was hurt and would be unavailable, Wilson wasn't that good a president, nor was Fitzgerald that good a novelist. Today such a prank would be called hacking, and unless it could be pinned on Russia, it would be prosecutable.
My wife Barbara and I were students together at UCLA in 1957-58, and were in the UCLA card stunt section in 1957, victim of the USC prank in the article. We remember the USC student section going crazy during our stunts and couldn't figure out why until later. But we also remember the next year, in the 1958 game, that the first UCLA card stunt again had a "USC" in the upper corner, and the USC students went crazy again. But then, the second stunt showed the USC corner slowly disappearing, and then the full section displayed the following message: "USC, Wiped Out Again". Those were the days!
Pac it in
The Times' article this week cited Friday night road losses by all four Pac-12 teams who had conference games the previous Saturday. However, in USC's case another debilitating factor these past two seasons is these Friday night road losses followed conference road games the previous Saturday. Last year's Friday road loss at Utah followed a road game at Stanford. This year's Friday night loss at Washington State followed a road game at Cal. And the fresh WSU team hadn't yet been on the road all season when they hosted USC. Conspiracy theory? If you want to sabotage a team, schedule back-to-back road games with the second road game played on a short week.
Can someone explain to me why the Pac-12 title game is on a Friday at 5? I get that television contracts are a huge piece of the revenue for the conference and their schools, but it's ludicrous that Larry Scott can't get a better situation. Why is the featured game of the preeminent West Coast conference taking place at a time better suited for the East Coast? The Pac-12 should prioritize its fans over all else. I can only hope low ratings and poor attendance can change this in the future.
I'm excited the Trojans could win a Pac-12 title for the first time since Pete, but I shouldn't have to leave work at 3:30 on a Friday just to be able to get home in time to watch kickoff in a game taking place in my own time zone.
Hot stove time
I loved Dylan Hernandez' tortured reasoning as to how Shohei Ohtani might be able to sign with the Dodgers. However, I feel there's an overriding reason why I would prefer to see him sign with another team — I would be able to see him play more often on television during the course of the season than if he were to sign with the Dodgers.
Are the Dodgers really reconsidering re-signing Yu Darvish? What, Tom Niedenfuer and Brandon League weren't available?
Mark J. Featherstone
I have no concerns at all about Albert Pujols' production over the final years of his ridiculous contract … just as long as the Angels have enough good hitters where he would be batting sixth in the lineup. Good luck, Mr. Eppler.
Last Friday evening I attended a high school football playoff game. As always I stood for the singing of the national anthem. I noticed two adults three rows down remained seated. I was offended by their actions, especially since it was Veteran's Day weekend. And that reminded me that my service in the U.S. Army gave them the right to their actions.
Brook Lopez, who stands seven feet tall and plays center for the Lakers, grabbed two rebounds during last Saturday's game. If Wilt (RIP) could convince St. Peter to unlock the Pearly Gates for a spell, I am convinced he could come back down here and grab more than that.
One must wonder when Luke Walton is quoted as saying "there is no talk of moving Lonzo to the bench," he is actually starting to bring up the subject of moving Lonzo to the bench.
Jim B. Parsons
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.
Mail: Sports Viewpoint
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Fax: (213) 237-4322