On Tuesday, UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley, who were previously arrested on shoplifting charges, were released from jail and allowed to head back home. Reports suggest that all charges against the players have been dropped and that their exit from the country was not considered a deportation.
According to Bleacher Report, during his 12-day tour of Asia, President Donald Trump had been working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve the matter. A US official stated that Xi promised all of the players involved would be treated “fairly and expeditiously.”
Ball, Hill, and Riley were accused of trying to steal sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton retail store located near the hotel their team was staying at in Hangzhou, China. The UCLA team was there, along with players from Georgia Tech, for an exhibition game.
After being accused of shoplifting, the three players were restricted to their hotel and not allowed to fly back with their teammates to the US.
Once the release of the three UCLA players was going forward, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott provided a statement, saying, “The three UCLA men’s basketball student-athletes involved in the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China are on a flight back home to Los Angeles, and the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities. We are all very pleased that these young men have been allowed to return home to their families and university.”
Scott continued, “We are grateful for the role that our Chinese hosts played, and for the courtesy and professionalism of the local authorities. We also want to acknowledge UCLA’s significant efforts on behalf of their student-athletes. Finally, we want to thank the President, the White House and the U.S. State Department for their efforts towards resolution.”
“Despite this unfortunate incident, it is important to underscore that thanks to our hosts and partners – most notably Alibaba and the Federation University Sports China – the student-athletes from UCLA and Georgia Tech had memorable cultural, educational and athletic experiences that will enrich their lives and provide lifetime memories,” said Scott.
“We look forward to next year’s game between the University of California, Berkeley and Yale University, and many more rewarding experiences for our student-athletes.”