I think the 3 UCLA basketball players caught shoplifting showed poor judgment. But they have apologized to their Chinese hosts, coaches, teammates, families, and UCLA. And from what I can gather they have learned a life lesson. Shouldn’t that be enough? This wasn’t a high crime and misdemeanor. Nobody was hurt; nobody violated, nobody humiliated.

I don’t understand the insistence for harsh penalties coming from some sport’s commentators, not to mention others. For what purpose? For whose benefit? If they were white, would the reaction be the same?

I would hate to tell you what I did in college — at a Catholic institution — that earned me only a $35 fine and probation; my status on the basketball team went unaffected.

And as for shoplifting, I got caught too at a very young age after a bit of a candy store stealing spree, but my friend and I got away with a dressing down from the store owner. And that was really enough, given the offense. We learned a lesson.

Justice should be restorative not punitive.