It feels like there is so much hurt, anger and sadness in our world. Every time I scroll through Twitter, listen to the news, or simply pay attention to the conversations around me I hear so much anger. I can’t help but replay the refrain over and over from the Hamilton song, “A world turned upside down.”
For us UCLA Bruins it has been non-stop judgement on the three men’s basketball players who shoplifted in China. Every time someone hears I’m from UCLA they offer their unsolicited opinion as if I care to rehash this all over again. More times than not, people will ask me what I think Coach Wooden would do. Actually, I think I have a good idea of what Coach Wooden would do.
First and foremost, Coach Wooden always defaulted to Faith, Hope and Love. Faith in a loving God. Faith in the absolute gift of Grace… of which we all receive in abundance daily whether we care to acknowledge it or not. Hope that we, as teachers of young men and women, can inspire our youth to think before they speak and act; and own the consequences of their actions with humility and gratitude. And Love in all we do. Coach mentioned many times that the greatest of all words is Love.
In my humble opinion I feel we need to stop viciously judging these three young men. Yes, what they did was on the extreme scale of arrogance and stupidity. My question is at what point on the sliding scale of stupidity do we condemn and refuse to forgive? I know that I have done a lot of stupid things in my life. I am so thankful smartphones and social media weren’t around to record my missteps, blast them to the world in real time and then generate a searchable record of them for all time.
As a Bruin I am embarrassed and angry at what the three Bruin basketball players did. Not only was it arrogant bravado, but it was in a foreign country that had welcomed us Bruins as their guests. I can’t help but feel if we were only concerning ourselves with what these three young men did, without the added fuel of others, our vitriol would be much more in line with the actual crime.
Making no excuses for them, and certainly not insinuating there shouldn’t be significant repercussions, the facts remain that these were victimless crimes.
The crimes were extremely stupid not vicious. Yes, the three could easily still be in jail in China had certain parties not intervened. I can think of numerous situations in my life where I’ve been granted Grace that I didn’t deserve at that moment and have been overwhelmed with humility and gratitude that I got a mulligan on that incident.
If I were involved in deciding what should happen to the three young men I’d think long and hard about my role and responsibility and bathe my decisions in Faith, Hope and Love.