After LiAngelo Ball and UCLA Bruins teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were charged with shoplifting on a preseason trip to China, detained after the team’s departure, and eventually released and sent back to the U.S. following the intervention of U.S. president Donald Trump, there’s been a lot of discussion about how UCLA should discipline them. Rece Davis brought the matter up on ESPN’s halftime show Tuesday during the Duke-Michigan State game, and while Jay Williams argued for a suspension for “a couple of games,” Seth Greenberg went in much harder:

“A couple of games?! Are you kidding me!” Greenberg yells. “A couple of games, maybe more, we’re talking about kids,” Williams says. Greenberg responds “I don’t care about kids! You’re taking your team to another country, a different culture, they steal things in three different stores allegedly, to me, that’s egregious. You’re representing your family, you’re representing your university, you go to another country and you’re representing your country.”

Here’s the next part, where Greenberg argues for a year-long suspension (saying they should be able to practice with the team, but not play), and Williams is not having it:

“They should not be able to play this year! This is an embarrassment!” Greenberg says. Williams responds “This whole year? So when do we come back to this, Seth, about having teachable moments for our youth?” Greenberg responds “That’s a great teachable moment,” and Williams continues “They’ve just gotten shamed all over national TV.” Greenberg interrupts with something about campus, and Williams continues “Donald Trump is talking about it, fine, have a three-game suspension. I think they’ve learned their lesson from that.” Greenberg then says “Let me ask you this, personally, I think those kids if they were smart, would unplug and reboot somewhere else,” Williams interrupts with “No, stop that,” and Greenberg continues “Because every time they walk across campus, the rest of the semester…” The argument continues in this clip, with Greenberg ranting further and Williams looking away and smiling:

“This is a dark cloud over their heads,” Greenberg says. “That is an embarrassment to everyone involved! And let’s face it, let me ask you this, I’m sure they’re great kids, but they went to China, and they decided that was the first time they’re going to make a bad decision?” Williams then says “Everyone makes bad decisions in life, especially when they’re 17, 18 years old. I’m not excusing it, I’m not saying it’s right, but constantly, you take them out of school, you kick them off the team.”

It’s remarkable to see a halftime discussion get so heated, but that’s mostly thanks to Greenberg’s rant here. Proposing a year’s suspension and/or forcing the players to leave UCLA over this seems like a pretty massive punishment for the crime involved, and it’s understandable why Williams wasn’t a fan of his take. At the very least, though, this made for a memorable halftime show.

[ESPN; Matt Clapp on Clippit]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.

  • Nelson Jon Kane

    There’s no such a thing as a “year suspension” in college sports. Maybe in the pros, you can suspend a player for a year by not paying him for a year. If you suspend a player for a year in college, that’s called redshirting. If you’re talking about expelling him from school for stealing, that would make sense. But suspending a player for a year just gives him 5 years to graduate instead of 4.

    • Da_Neutral_Observer

      Wrong. You have to petition the NCAA for a redshirt year — which is generally granted for reasons like a serious injury or joining the program at the last minute — due to a delay in junior college credits transferring over. I don’t think the NCAA would grant a redshirt year for being arrested on shoplifting charges. Sorry. Not sorry. Doubtful they’ll be expelled — but being kicked off the team and losing their athletic scholarships — no doubt, is on the table.

  • Shawn Diiorio

    They should kick them off the team. This is an open opportunity for UCLA to rid themselves of their Ball Cancer. They should run with it.

  • TR6guy

    Well, it makes for fun TV. But Jay Williams has the thankless job of representing the ESPN Corporate view, “let the miscreants play. Always let the miscreants play. Because we need their ‘talent’ and ratings.” I hope he sobbed in the shower when he got home.

  • Scott Fitzgerald

    If only we could pay these players. These guys get busted for shoplifting in CHINA! The President of the United States has to step in and tell the President of China to let these guys go.

    But Jay Bilas please tell me again how college athletes are exploited. I’m so interested in that conversation today.

    • PAI

      You do realize one of them is already a millionaire, right?

      • Scott Fitzgerald

        That really has nothing to do with what I wrote

  • Jeffrey Webb

    I absolutely agree that they should be suspended for the rest of the season.they have embarrassed their families,their teamates and their schools.

    • Brian C. Lee

      I don’t think it’s possible to embarrass the Ball family. If they’re not embarrassed by LaVar, then….

  • Jason H.

    The punishment has to be significant. I agree with Greenberg. They would learn a lot from a year suspension. Getting kicked off the team would be appropriate, but a year suspension would be sufficient if they wanted to cut him a break.

  • They got out of China without serving jail time. Anything UCLA can do to them will be better than what they could have endured.

  • Bubba1971

    Those kids should be suspended for the rest of the season at the very least, if not outright kicked off the team !

  • Pingback: This Week In Hot Takes: Stephen A. Smith calls Jay Cutler "a disease"()