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D.J. Newbill Arrested On Suspicion Of Terrorism, Agent Suspects Racial Profiling

UPDATE:

After being questioned by German officials, DJ Newbill is no longer in custody and is on his way to France to continue his basketball career, Newbill’s agent told StateCollege.com on Monday.

Despite stating otherwise in a previous post, Newbill’s agent Francois Lamy says that the former Penn State star was not accused of terrorism, but that the terrorism-related questions were part of a “silly protocol.”

“DJ is on his way to France through London and was actually moving freely in the tranzit zone of Frankfurt airport after he was interrogated. He should be in France this evening,” said Lamy in a message to StateCollege.com’s Ben Jones.

“Just to correct one thing, DJ was not arrested on suspicion of terrorism, he was interrogated because of not presenting a long stay visa when entering shengen zone to play professional basketball. Only during interrogation did the officials ask weird questions, which seem to be part of a silly protocol.”

Either way, we hope this crazy story is over, and wish the best of luck to DJ as he continues his career with ASVEL Basket.

ORIGINAL STORY: 

D.J. Newbill — who warmed the hearts of sports fans last week with his open letter of gratitude to Penn State — was arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist on his way to France. His agent claims it was a result of racial profiling on the part of German immigration officials.

The reason given by authorities for Newbill’s detainment was “absence of a visa for a long stay,” and it included extreme measures being taken — including Newbill being interrogated for hours by officials. Professional athletes that travel to other countries regularize their visas in said country, so his absence of a visa was perfectly ordinary and to be expected.

French agent Francois Lamy, who works for the organization that represents Newbill, took to Facebook to express his disgust in the actions that took place. Lamy’s original post was translated from French to English.

“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 for 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 to their national.”

Newbill had never previously been arrested or detained by authorities. We reached out to Newbill’s agent for more information and we’ll update the story as we get it.

Correction: Newbill’s agent had said it was his first time out of the country, but Penn State basketball toured Europe in August 2013. We apologize for the error, which makes this story even more bizarre.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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