Say what you will about Bill Walton. You may hate listening to him pontificating about UCLA, the Pac-12 as the “Conference of Champions”, college basketball in general, or just about anything for that matter.
But, you also knew that he was going to have something to say tonight about the alleged shoplifting incident involving three freshmen UCLA Men’s Basketball players.
And, boy, did he!
First, he condemned what UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley allegedly did.
But, he didn’t stop there. He apologized.
He didn’t just apologize on behalf of UCLA or the Pac-12 or even the United States. Big Red actually apologized “on behalf of the human race.”
Yup, that’s right. That’s exactly what he did. It was a classic case of “Walton being Walton.”
And, at least this time, he was dead on.
Here’s what Walton said, as the game began:
I am sad, disappointed and embarrassed. This is a very big deal. The noble purpose here has been stained. Our hosts Alibaba, China, the people...they have been better than perfect in everything. They have done everything right to make this all work. Now, members of our family have displayed an appalling lack of honor, lack of respect, 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.
I don’t know if Walton has any information than what is publicly known, but I would have to assume that he does. He’s been over in China and I would expect that he has spoken with officials from UCLA as well as from the Pac-12.
Thankfully, the Twitter account of gifdsports has tweeted out Walton’s full comments from the start of the game. So, you can listen to it for yourself!
Bill Walton apologizes in behalf of " the entire human race" for LiAngelo Ball and his teammates stealing sunglasses in China pic.twitter.com/O7VluvbRsU— gifdsports (@gifdsports) November 11, 2017
Now, I understand that UCLA doesn’t want to say anything publicly which could make life any rougher for the “Hangzhou Three,” but this is the kind of thing UCLA needs to do in the event that these individuals are found to have done what they are accused of.
In fact, this reminded me of my all-time favorite Waltonism. During a UCLA game that was broadcast on February 7, 2013, Bill was asked about how he would solve UCLA’s attendance problems. Walton responded with this dandy:
I'm not in charge. If I were, things would be different....
I still refer to that quote as liberally as possible. This week has been another one of those times when I can’t help but think of that quote.