Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Blame will linger

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Blame will linger


WITHOUT LOOKING at the newspapers or a sports magazine or some online site, tell me who won the recent basketball game played in China between UCLA and Georgia Tech?

Bet ya can’t. That’s because the lasting publicity was that three UCLA players were caught shoplifting. And China has strict laws.

The U.S. President was in Asia at the time and he said he intervened with his good friend, the Chinese President, to get the kids released. Not true, one player’s dad said. Who to believe?

Let’s back up. These ballplayers were in China to play a goodwill exhibition game. The Chinese people would get to see some of our student athletes from great universities in action. It would be a nice, positive connection between peoples of the two most powerful nations on earth.

Who won the game?

The guilty players missed the game but were released from jail. They were put up in a high-end resort hotel while the details of their coming trial were worked out. Meanwhile, their teammates flew home.

The Chinese President got the charges dropped.

Now UCLA is having to explain who paid for the meals and hotel rooms of the shoplifters while they were out of jail, and who paid for their flight back to the U.S. because they weren’t on the team aircraft. The NCAA is picky about stuff like that. And should be.

And the Chinese people now have a real fine opinion of American college students, don’t they? It’s called stereotyping.

Yep, this was a real public relations fiasco because the three players didn’t appreciate their great opportunity to travel and experience the world. They just saw an opportunity to get something for nothing. I grant you that young people will make mistakes.

Finally back in the good ole USA, the players had a press conference in which they expressed remorse. One even thanked the President.

The players apologized to the Chinese people. They apologized to their university and to their own families and their teammates. It had to be very hard to sit there in front of the microphones and cameras and face up to what they had done. I commend them for it.

But, someone else should have also gotten an apology.

The trio should also have apologized to other young African-American males. What the three did in China (and in front of the world) was to reinforce the stereotype of black males as criminals. Stereotyping is regrettable, and it’s nothing new. Stereotyping is learned.

What that trio did wasn’t just a crime against the Chinese store owners. It was a crime against black kids who have a harder struggle than some others when they try to become engineers and astronauts and teachers and judges.

I believe that many Americans are honestly trying to overcome our racial shortcomings, and what these three guys did was no help at all.

You can forgive; it’s harder to forget.

Who won that game? See?

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WARNING. Once a year I repeat a column from the past. It’s my imaginary Thanksgiving feast in a Native American restaurant. I  tweak it a bit and unashamedly run it again each year.

Maybe I need to do like the Hollywood celebs and D.C. politicians — check into a rehab.

That column will repeat next week while I’m in Thanksgiving rehab.

• • • • • • • • • •

THE BODY CHANGES. The only piece of jewelry I ever wear is my class ring from the University of Arkansas. My mother gave it to me as a Christmas present during my senior year at school.

I don’t wear it a lot because I bought it a bit large and it slid loosely on my finger. That led to an event in my last winter in Fayetteville. I engaged in a snowball fight with the girls across the street. The next day I realized that my class ring was not on my finger. I looked everywhere. Even took the trash apart looking for it (for one moment, try to imagine what the garbage can was like at an apartment where three fastidious Nashville boys lived).

I had stupidly lost the ring.

The snow melted and miraculously a few days later one of the girls found the ring in their yard not a dozen feet from their front door.

I guess I slung it there.

Here’s the reason I’m writing about the ring and it being loose on my finger in that snowball fight.

Sunday I decided to wear it to church. But it would not go over the knuckle of the ring finger.

I don’t think rings shrink.

The body changes.

• • • • • • • • • •

THINGS I LEARNED from opening email:

A rat can last longer without water than a camel.

• • • • • • • • • •

WORD GAMES. The twins: In and Out.

Visits are short. They don’t hang around for long.

• • • • • • • • • •

HE SAID: “I do not like to get the news, because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons.” Ogden Nash, poet and humorist

• • • • • • • • • •

SHE SAID: “Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect means of expression. It is so spontaneous. And after singing, I think the violin. Since I cannot sing, I paint.” Georgia O’Keeffe, artist

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