Michigan native Wendell Brown was sentenced to 4 years of prison in China. 31-year-old Brown is a former linebacker at Ball State who made the Dean’s list and earned a degree in Criminal Justice, his mother Antoinette shared in our phone call. After college he joined the Canadian Football League before taking a job abroad in China in 2016 to coach football for a professional league there and offer youth instructional camps on the game. A job well suited for the father.

Wendell Brown in China


In September of 2016, while attending a friend’s birthday party, Wendell Brown was forced to defend himself when a man began throwing glass bottles. That man injured a woman during the incident. He has not been charged or imprisoned to date. Browns mother said she was contacted by officials in China requesting $100,000 to "resolve the situation". A sum her family could not afford. Antoinette has since spoken to other families with loved ones imprisoned in the communist country and learned many of them feel they were targeted as obvious foreigners in an attempt to get money from the families.

Video of the incident shows Wendell defending himself and the judge agreed that in the beginning Wendell was but said that the 6-foot, 225-pound African American "became too aggressive" despite witness testimony stating otherwise. Normally, foreigners convicted of similar crimes are deported. "Why not Wendell?" asked his mother.

Wendell Brown


Wendell Brown is appealing his prison sentence.

Here's what Antoinette Brown says that you can do to help; contact our Michigan government officials and reach out to the Congressional Black Caucus. Ask them and our President to engage with the Chinese Government and demand the immediate release of Wendell Brown.