Late last week, former Penn State basketball player D.J. Newbill wrote a letter to the entire Nittany Lions community thanking them for their support during his time at the university and informing them of his decision to take his talents to France to continue playing basketball. But over the weekend, Newbill ran into some trouble while trying to make his way overseas to play for the French club ASVEL Basket—and it has turned into a really bizarre story.
According to his European agent Francois Lamy, Newbill was detained at the border between Germany and France and interrogated about his possible connection to terrorism while traveling. Even though it doesn't sound like the German immigration officials who questioned him should have had any reason to believe that Newbill was a terrorist, he was reportedly questioned at length about his reason for being in Europe.
"An officer of the German immigration doubted his statement that he was in Europe to play basketball," Lamy wrote on his Facebook page. "He also doubted that France was the country of final destination. Newbill was interrogated for hours. German immigration officials were convinced he had a terrorist motive."
In his Facebook post, Lamy suggested that racism was to blame for Newbill getting pulled aside and questioned. He believes that the main reason Newbill was detained was the color of his skin.
"If there is a despicable ideology that we must fight, it is that one race is superior to another," Lamy wrote.
You can read Lamy's entire Facebook post, courtesy of the site The Black Cager, below. Newbill was reportedly allowed to continue traveling after being detained. We'll be sure to keep you updated with further details if and when they become available.
Immigration, ordinary everyday racism, and other joys of our daily lives, as sensitive as either the subject, this is the day to tackle it. Today a basketball player that I placed in France to the Asvel, DJ Newbill, in my opinion a player and a guy who is exceptional, was arrested by German immigration officials. The official reason, absence of a visa for long stay. It is important to note that visas for sports professionals are regularized once on the territory. Therefore the situation is a little farcical in addition to be unpublished.
A basketball player coming from American to play in Europe is stopped at the German border, questioned, and then released after payment of a fine, but retained in the transit area waiting for deportation to the USA. I have never such an incident my long career. It must be specified that Newbill is an American citizen. Just as a French citizen in the USA, does not need a visa for return on the French territory and can stay there 3 months, Newbill can stay in France fro 3 months, but must regularize his situation in case of prolonged stay or to work.
This young man is African American, and has never been out of the United States before. This is the first experience that he has with Europe. An officer of the German immigration, doubted his statement that he was in Europe to play basketball. He also doubted that France was the country of final destination. Newbill was interrogated for hours. German immigration official were convinced he had a terrorist motive.
I challenge anyone to dare to tell me that this is a coincidence. I have also had the pleasure of having this official on the phone. I told him it was normal. I asked him to try to understand because it was the first time in almost 20 years that this kind of concern is presented.
He then increase the tone, until I will do the same, and he proposed to remind the US Consulate in Frankfurt for they come in person attend their national.
All this to say that ca inspires me a few thoughts more broad:
Our good populist policies which are having a hayday on immigration issues forget well voluntarily to educate us on the reality of immigration procedures everywhere in the world: They are strict, complex, cold, without past-right nor states of soul. And they of course have good reason to be, are we not ourselves selective before inviting someone in our respective homes? But they are also implemented on the ground by human beings, and therefore can sometimes be subjectively applied.
Why specifically that player here, while several hundreds of players pass through European countries before coming play in France by regularizing their visa once in the territory? Ask the question is to answer it.
If there is a despicable ideology that we must fight, it is that one race is superior to another. Once again, it is all the racist or the oppressed of someone, ca is not the prerogative of a color. But the whiff post slavery or colonialists are unbearable and the nest of a lot of latent conflicts and misunderstandings remaining. This Mr. Faber, chief of the police station of Terminal 1 of Frankfurt, is going to bite the fingers very long to be allowed to go to its primary instincts. I made a promise to the player, and have already asked the US Consulate in Frankfurt to escalate to the German state that one of their employees has behaved with a baseness unworthy, what they have assured make tomorrow. These people forget that they are public servants in the service of the State of course, but with the missions of service and order able.
Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[via Philly Mag]