On Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed,” co-host Shannon Sharpe sided with President Donald J. Trump, saying LaVar Ball’s complaints about the president are the “dumbest thing” he could have said.
Ball, the father of one of the UCLA players Trump helped after they were held by Chinese police on allegations of shoplifting, has maintained that the president’s intervention had little effect. Ball said he and others were more instrumental and defended his position during an appearance on CNN.
“Skip, you and I, we speak very highly of LaVar, but that was the dumbest thing he ever could have said,” Sharpe, a former NFL tight end who played for the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, told his co-host Skip Bayless on Tuesday (see video below).
“The president of the United States did not go visit his son in jail, so, therefore, he’s not going to say, ‘Thank you,'” Sharpe observed, citing one comment Ball allegedly made.
On Sunday, ABC’s “Good Morning America” producer Michael Del Moro tweeted: “Ball said he wasn’t inclined to get into a back-and-forth with the President’s tweets, but said: “Did he go visit them in jail? Did you go visit them in jail? If you went to visit them in jail then I would say, ‘thank you.’” (See tweet below.)
Trump was in China on a diplomatic tour of Asia when the incident occurred. While trade and talks about North Korea were high on the list of priories between the two nations, Trump spoke to his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, about the trio of UCLA basketball players: LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill.
The American athletes were arrested for shoplifting and faced a minimum 3-year jail term, but the young men were released from Chinese custody after the president intervened. Each of the men thanked Trump and the United States government for assisting in their return home, but LiAngelo Ball’s father, LaVar Ball, continues to reject the notion that Trump helped.
Sharpe, who has criticized Trump in the past, regarding the president’s stance on NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem, gave him credit on Tuesday, saying, “I can assure you, President Trump mentioning [the detainment] to the Chinese President didn’t hurt his situation. If he [LaVar Ball] felt this strongly, why didn’t the hell he say that while they were over there? This is when he should have been vocal.”
Ball maintains that he and his associates played a part in securing the players release. Trump has said that the players were told why they were released, and Sharpe noted that all the players acknowledged Trump’s influence, not Ball’s.
“Why did all three of those guys get up there and thank President Trump, personally? Thank the American government, personally?” Sharpe asked. “I didn’t hear one of them mention LaVar Ball’s name. I did hear three ‘President Trumps’ and three ‘American governments.’ Now, they get back on American soil, [LaVar Ball] wants to pound his chest.”
“I see why President Trump used the word ‘ungrateful,'” he added.
Sharpe also had voiced harsh words about LiAngelo Ball. “President Trump would have said nothing about the boy. If your son would have had kept his sticky-ass fingers in his pockets, and not take people’s stuff in China, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.” Sharpe said.
Ball said he wasn’t inclined to get into a back-and-forth with the President’s tweets, but said: “Did he go visit them in jail? Did you go visit them in jail? If you went to visit them in jail then I would say, ‘thank you’”
— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) November 20, 2017