Georgetown’s goodwill tour of China was meant to be a chance for the university to establish relations with the People’s Republic through its most prized athletic asset: the men’s basketball team. The trip was initially about much more than basketball — the exhibition games were merely a formality as the Hoya contingent toured the country, met with Vice President Joe Biden and sought to promote sports diplomacy between the world’s superpower and its ascending counterpart.

Then with one thrown chair, the publicity, the YouTube videos and the basketball were all forgotten, as the court flooded with fighting players. The Battle of Beijing will eventually be lost in time, chalked up as another demonstration of the Chinese Basketball Association’s tendency to called biased games and protect their inflated pride through on-court violence. Both nations will move on, especially when the inevitable next fight occurs between a Chinese team and some other international opponent, as Brazil learned before Georgetown.

Yet what does this mean for the university? The swift public campaign by President John DeGioia and Head Coach John Thompson III to quell the situation and have a kiss-and-make-up meeting with the Rockets seemed like the university was sacrificing its player’s reputations in an effort to keep the possibility of a future campus in China open.

So what does this mean for the basketball team? There will most likely be no sanctions. The NCAA and the Big East were both silent, with “unfortunate” the preferred adjective in describing the melee. In fact, the exhibition games appear to be outside of their jurisdiction. The highly publicized treaty-signing session in a Beijing hotel room between Georgetown and the Rockets also suggested an attempt to keep watering the roots for possible future recruiting options in China, which has already begun to ship college-aged students to West Coast universities.

However, our basketball team deserved a much more ringing round of support than it was given. Understandably, the team still had half a trip to go and most likely didn’t want to offend any more Chinese teams. Yet, as recent graduate Chris Wright tweeted, Georgetown stands for much more than other universities — especially the basketball powerhouses..

Consider the circumstances: Twenty-eight fouls were called against the Hoyas as opposed to 11 against the Rockets. Referees allowed a Chinese player to scream at Thompson III during the third quarter without repeurcussions, and later failed to halt the fracas. Chinese fans threw chairs and water bottles at the players and even Georgetown fans as they exited the arena. The police let the fight occur rather than jumping in to protect the international visitors. Above all, a professional team made up of members of the People’s Liberation Army chose to scrap with college students.

Reverse the circumstances. Change the location. Imagine, if it’s even possible, that such a scenario occurred on American soil. Georgetown would have been torn to pieces not only by the Chinese media but by their own countrymen. Our response: an unfortunate incident.

The players deserved a lot more support than they publicly received. Sure, the Twittersphere and Facebook boards were filled with praise for the Hoyas sticking together and battling it out, rather than taking the abuse. Maybe Clark aimed the first swing, as the video appears to prove. — — But after such a disrespectful display of sportsmanship by the host team, the final comingincident occuring in thebackcourt, who wouldn’t push back? Perhaps it wasn’t the best response, but he was protecting himself. Where is that acknowledgment?

Georgetown deserves a formal apology. Hoyas are notoriously stereotyped as politically-minded, global junkies, so let’s discuss politics. Diplomacy in China is wonderful, but not when we have to sacrifice our pride to protect China’s ego and to mitigate potential damages to our administrators’ future plans.

Georgetown moved past the incident quickly and strategically. Now, JTIII and his Hoyas will focus back on their preparations for the season. The good news? After fighting a military team, the Big East doesn’t look so bruising anymore for Georgetown.

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