Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber, Swarco Raider, Ball State Cardinal Wendell Brown sentenced to 4 years in Chinese prison!

Editor’s Note: The international American football community must remain aware of Wendell Brown’s case. For further information contact the Dui Hua Foundation, a non-profit organization  whose  aim is to help at-risk detainees: political and religious prisoners, juvenile justice, women in prison, and selected issues in criminal justice. 

After languishing in prison in Chongqing, China for two years including one year following his trial, Wendell Brown has received a sentence of four more years behind bars.

It isn’t clear whether that will count towards his sentence. It also isn’t clear whether Brown will serve that sentence in China. According to the Associated PressChina sometimes deports foreigners following their conviction, but it was unclear whether deportation was a possibility for Brown.

Brown, originally from Detroit, will appeal the sentence – one that an activist working on his behalf called “extremely unjust and excessive”.

John Kamm, the CEO of the Dui Hua Foundation, which is a non-profit based in San Francisco that works with the Chinese government to seek clemency and better treatment for detained foreigners, has been working with government officials on Brown’s behalf.

In a recent interview with, Kamm claims Brown’s case has become a government priority:

“What I have heard from them is that the case is, in fact, a priority of the government. Both the White House and State Department are raising Wendell’s case frequently with the Chinese government, both in Beijing and in Washington at their embassy.”

He told the AP late Wednesday that “Four years for a fight in a bar is extremely unjust and excessive.”

Brown’s family and supporters had been hopeful prior to the verdict. Kamm said he once attended a similar trial in which a person got into a fight outside a bar and received a suspended sentence, which would typically be 3-5 months.

“I had a conversation recently with a diplomat. When I went over the facts of the case, to be honest, the diplomat was quite shocked that someone would be held for what is really in China a common and relatively minor offense. Leaving aside the fact that I think Wendell is innocent, to be in detention for 20 months for getting into a fight at a bar is really way over the line, way more onerous.”

A spokesman at the US Embassy in Beijing states that the government is aware of the situation:

“We are aware of reports that Mr. Brown has been sentenced to four years. The Department of State takes seriously its duty to assist U.S. citizens abroad. We continue to closely follow his case.”

As American Football International has reported earlier, the former Winnipeg Blue Bomberand Swarco Raider (Austria) has been languishing in jail in China since September 2016 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.

After playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League and the Swarco Raiders in Austria. Brown 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.

In November of 2017, three UCLA basketball players were arrested for allegedly shoplifting. One of those players was LiAngelo Ball, the son Lavar Ball, which in turn got President Donald Trump involved as well. The players were eventually released after only a couple days in prison.

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