Editor’s note: Although this story appeared almost three months ago, and the original story almost a year ago, the status of Wendell Brown has not changed and the international American football community must remain aware.
The highly publicized case of the three UCLA basketball players – LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley – accused of shoplifting in China, who were released due to the intervention of President Donald Trump, has not changed the situation for former CFL and Austrian Football League player Wendell Brown. According to Dan Wentzel of Yahoo Sports and David Gardner of the Bleacher Report, Wendell Brown is still awaiting trial in China.
As American Football International reported earlier this year, the former Winnipeg Blue Bomber and Swarco Raider (Austria) has been languishing in jail in China since last September after getting into an altercation with a few Chinese locals in a bar in Chongqing, China.
Brown, who was helping coaching the Chongqing Dockers of the American Football League of China, had apparently been out with some friends when, according to witnesses, he was provoked by a group of locals who were upset that Brown would not party with them. One of the men escalated the incident by throwing a glass bottle at Brown, who retaliated out of self-defense. The local police were contacted following the altercation, and allegedly only arrested Brown. He has been in jail ever since.
Brown’s mother Anoinette recently appeared on Fox News
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Alexis Andrews, a friend of Brown’s who is still in China, told Hunter that the locals were upset that Brown was not interested in drinking with them:
“I wasn’t there at the club where it took place, but I was at the bar he came to immediately after the incident. He told me everything that happened; how they were picking on him, and how they started off wanting to drink with him. When he was uninterested, they got upset, which is common.”
Brown, who played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League and the Swarco Raiders in Austria. went to China in 2015 to play for the Dockers and now was helping to coach them. He played his high school football at Martin Luther King High School in Detroit, where he was an all-state player at linebacker in 2004. He went on to play at Ball State, where he received bachelor’s degree.
Since his incarceration in September of 2016, he has been allowed almost virtually no communication with the outside world other than with his attorneys in China. He managed to send his family a letter dated March 1, 2017:
“To all my family whom I love throughout the continents of Asia, Europe, and North America: honor, praise, and glory to the most high (yah?) , through Yahshua Messiah for blessing me with such a beautiful band of people whom I can lean on in order to regain both focus and strength. I thank you for all that you are doing for me while I fight the toughest fight of my life! I know this battle is not physical, but spiritual, and I also know I’m not just fighting for myself and my family, but a multitude of people, and I’m more than grateful because you all have extended yourselves to be my crutch! Again, I thank you! I miss y’all so much.
What keeps me encouraged are all the memories we’ve been blessed to share with each other. The thought of us building more, and those that are even more beautiful got me fist pumping, like Arsenio! For real, I’m excited! But, some days I wake up and look around like wtf bro, you really in jail! And in China! And, no, Wendell didn’t go to China and try to turn thug! But being in here, in isolation, away from those I care for and who care for me, I think of all (0f) life’s luxuries that, to us, may not even be considered a luxury, like lotion, a comb, hot showers, a toilet, going outside, or even seeing and being around smiles and eyes that you know are pure and have no deceit behind them!
I think of so may things I’ve been blessed with my whole life that I’ve simply taken for granted. I’ve also been thinking about my life and where it’s been, where it’s heading, what mark do I truly want to leave, what defines me, what will the legacy of Wendell Brown Sr., actually be? And plainly, I just want to give; I want to give all things to my people. I want to give love, life, laughter, opportunity, experience and so much more! And when I say my people, I don’t just speak of my family and friends, but all children! All those I’ve encountered in my travels around the world, along with fulfilling my destiny, and life’s purpose, are two things I often pray for! I just want the right, you know?
I don’t want to miss it or come up short, but (yah?) willing, I won’t. I know I won’t! Hallellyah. I think of those in the bible who stood firm in their faith, and what came to be of them after their test. Since I know his ways, (his) thoughts are higher than mine. I know the road ahead is full of blessings, and not just for me, but for us! Halleluyah! And because I know the most high possesses so much power, and I know his spirit is living within out physical being, I’m convinced we are already victorious, and in more ways than one! Halleluyah!
I want to say so much more, but this letter is already pushing it. So again, thank you to all of you! Please continue to pray and send me your positive energy, and I will continue to do the same for you in return! I love you all to life! Grace, peace, prosperity, love, and abundance of blessings in the name of the most high God! Deuce, yo daddy loves you!”
According to Hunter, Brown was apparently part of a YouTube web-series called “Black in China”, where he was playing and teaching football, teaching English, and served as a personal trainer in China. Brown also has a 10-year-old son in Detroit that he would love to come home to. His family has set up a GoFundMe account to help assist in his legal fees.
Waiting in jail
The Brown family hired a lawyer in China, but have found it to be no help. They have not been able to communicate with their son outside of written correspondence and were told they need to pay $100,000 as restitution.
Keith Lommel, a public affairs officer at the US consulate, told the website Sixth Tone that he and his colleagues are actively monitoring Brown’s detention and legal proceedings.
“At this time, we have no new information in his case, including when a verdict will be handed down.”
But Brown’s pro bono lawyer, who requested anonymity to protect her privacy, said that Brown seems positive:
“He’s in good spirits,” she said. “Mentally, he’s just fine, because he firmly believes he is innocent.”
To while away the hours in detention, Brown exercises, prays, reads the Bible, pores over the books and magazines the consulate staff bring him, and even organizes informal cross-training sessions for the other inmates. But mostly, he just sits and waits.
And the rest of the world waits and watches.