UCLA and Georgia Tech finally played their season-opening college basketball game in China after nearly a week of drama surrounding an alleged shoplifting incident involving three Bruins players. UCLA great Bill Walton, who was doing color commentary for the ESPN broadcast, wants everyone to know that the school and everyone associated with it is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very sorry for all of this.
“I am sad, disappointed and embarrassed. This is a very big deal,” Walton said as the game tipped off late Friday night on the U.S. East Coast. “The noble purpose here has been stained. Our host, Alibaba China, the people, they have been better than perfect in everything. They’ve done everything right to make this all work. Now members of our family have displayed an appalling lack of honor, a lack of respect, a lack of decency by doing something in someone else’s home that they would never do in their own. And I want to apologize right now on behalf of the human race for this travesty.”
The Washington Post’s Simon Denyer was on hand for the game, a 63-60 win for UCLA. He reports that LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill — the three freshmen at the center of the incident — will not be on the team plane when it departs for the United States on Saturday. ESPN reports that the three players, now reportedly accused of shoplifting from three luxury stores at a mall next to the team hotel in Hangzhou, could be forced to stay in the city for “a week or two.”
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