UCLA players in Los Angeles after Trump seeks help from China’s Xi

FILE PHOTO:    High School Basketball: Tarkanian Classic
FILE PHOTO: Dec 16, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chino Hills Huskies guard LiAngelo Ball (3) dribbles against the defense of Clark Chargers forward Jalen Hill (21) on the second day of the Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman High School. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

November 15, 2017

By Steve Holland and Dana Feldman

MANILA/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting arrived back in the United States on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had sought the help of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the case.

The players landed at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Shanghai on Tuesday evening, their heads down. The three – LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill – declined to speak to throngs of reporters before boarding a bus.

“What they did was unfortunate,” Trump told reporters earlier in Manila. He said the trio, who had been held since last week, could have faced long prison sentences. Trump described Xi’s response as “terrific.”

Trump had raised the issue with Xi at a dinner held during the U.S. leader’s Nov. 8-10 state visit to Beijing. Trump was in the Philippine capital for a summit of Asian leaders.

“The relevant case involving three students has already been resolved according to law,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said without elaborating when asked at a regular briefing in Beijing about Trump’s discussion of the issue with Xi.

The three basketball players from the University of California, Los Angeles, were detained by police on Nov. 7 in the Chinese city of Hangzhou over allegations of shoplifting. They were not on the team’s return flight to the United States on Saturday.

A senior White House official said the players had been given relatively light treatment due to Trump’s intervention.

“It’s in large part because the president brought it up,” the official told Reuters.

The UCLA team had been in China for a game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Saturday, which UCLA won 63-60. The teams had traveled to Hangzhou earlier in the week to visit the headquarters of the game’s sponsor, Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The three students, all freshmen, were taken in for questioning by police about alleged shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store.

They were released from police custody early on Wednesday and had been confined to a luxury hotel pending legal proceedings.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, who had not spoken with the three players, said what had occurred was a “very regrettable situation.” Pac-12 is the college athletic conference in which UCLA participates.

“I’m just glad it’s resolved and that they’re on the way home safely,” he told Reuters by telephone from an Anti-Defamation League Sports Leadership Council event in San Francisco.

Since the matter did not occur on the court, it would be up to UCLA whether the players will be punished, Scott said.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement that the university’s Athletics and Office of Student Conduct would review the incident and determine any potential discipline. He said such proceedings would be confidential.

“I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law,” he said.

(Reporting by Steve Holland in Manila and Dana Feldman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by John Ruwitch in Shanghai, Philip Wen and Michael Martina in Beijing, Chris Kenning in Chicago; Writing by James Pomfret and Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler)

  • CW Cressler

    So as long as a murder took place off the court, it would be of no concern to the Pac-12? That’s it, my kid’s going to a Pac-12 college as soon as he’s served his 25-to-life.

  • Swampdrainer

    BLM is awefully quiet

  • djbosox

    There goes that damn “white privilege” again….. Oh wait

  • UNOWHO

    Did Trump cave to the left’s racist accusations and invest political capital on these immoral idiots who now are relieved of the consequences of their foolish decisions? Hope it pays off but don’t hold your breath!

  • Observer8710

    If they start kneeling in front of the flag during the anthem, deport them back to China.

    • AshJonson

      I’ve got a Louisville Slugger that will speak with them if they puul that crap.

  • TEXAS HEALTH NUT

    They would still be there if TRUMP did not have such a good relationship with his counter part in China. OBAMA would have had to give something HUGE away to get them back and it might have taken a VERY LONG TIME! Although the boys would have deserved it…..

  • TEXAS HEALTH NUT

    All I can say is….we had better handle the matter here now that they are back by at least kicking them off the team. There has to be consequences for that type of behavior. They could be rotting in jail in CHINA! Trump did these boys a VERY BIG favor. We cannot sweep under the rug – there would be no lesson learned.

    • djbosox

      Kicked off of the team?? BAHAHAHHAHA,,,It`s UCLA. Hell, they earned a load of street cred to their peers and the Liberals at UCLA will do nothing.

      • TEXAS HEALTH NUT

        You are probably right…!

  • Wolfman (kafir harbi)

    Keep them. We don’t want the thieves back. Ghetto trash.

  • Larry

    Those kids got lucky, shop lifting in china very ignorant and a more serious offence then here, minimum 30 days in jail eating nothing but rice balls. Live & learn, but please Learn.

  • Marinesgt77

    Should have left them there. A somber “discussion with Mr. Cane” would get their attention. I’d think they would be “woke” after that. Something their dad should have done a long time ago. That is if they even know who he was.

  • Widl Man

    WTF, they were in a foreign country, stealing and they get off scot free? Funny, it is still illegal to steal stuff int he USA, too. Granted they’re more harsh on criminals in China than the Club Fed of the USA, but stealing is still stealing. These two dumbasses should be taken off the UCLA basketball team for lack of moral fiber & responsibility. If they steal from foreign countries, what keeps them from stealing from their team mates and throwing games for a few more pennies.

  • 3eyedhuman

    Remember, we are not talking about high school students. These are adults who were in the enviable position of playing basketball for one of our nations’ most prestiegous colleges. A chance to be a credit to their race and a model to all basketball fans. We expected more and got a lot less. Common thieves.

  • escaped to Alaska

    The “Law and Order” POTUS at work, making exceptions for the privileged.

    • Widl Man

      Dumbass.

  • hjole

    I have to ask myself, why would Trump get involved in this matter?

  • Robert E. Lee

    They should do some time in jail , just for being so stupid !

  • Michael Wynn

    The Pac12 commisioner says the matter is resolved, but is it? What about the “ugly american” reputation these jerks leave behind. Where I stand, these guys should be cut from the team, lose all scholarships and be expelled from the campus … But then, this is UCLA!

  • Living_The_Dream

    White house has set the precedence now with future incidents. Since they are not being held accountable in China, our State Department needs to get the details and hold them accountable here. But I guarantee, a US prison is a luxury hotel compared to a PRC prison.

  • Flagfriend

    We live in a world of snowflakes where if they don’t whine loud enough for better treatment when they have messed up, their parents will, or their coaches will, or their school will, and now their government will.

    I have no problem with our government pulling out all the stops to retrieve law abiding US citizens who get railroaded in a foreign country for propaganda purposes. But conversely I have no sympathy for our citizens who, while representing us in foreign countries, run afoul of the laws there. This appears to be one of those cases. It is an embarrassment to our country when our government feels the need to step in and ask for better treatment for our citizens than they would otherwise receive. And secondly, these kids are being taught exactly the wrong lesson about being responsible for your own actions.

  • Thangamma

    But they will take a knee ! Thangamma!

  • jlsharks1

    They are a disgrace to their country. They should be lock up a taught a lesson.

  • stevens123

    The US should not have intervened. You do the crime you do the time.

  • stevens123

    So much for the Trump is a racist line.

  • perfectlynormal

    For embarrassing their school, they should be expelled from college. For embarrassing their nation, they should be banned from ever entering the NBA. However, neither of these things will happen.

  • Dieti

    I at least would have let them sweat for a couple more days. In the case of one of these kids, a loud-mouthed, ego-driven father with lousy parenting skills was to blame.

    • djbosox

      The POS did say that it was “no big deal”.

  • roger

    future felons . they are no different than the guys in the nfl

    • TexanForever

      Future felons? … They’ve already been busted in NK for thievery.
      .

  • I C Black Racists

    I agree with “ProudAmericanVet” and “TexanForever”, but with my handle and avatar, am not allowed to comment or I will be banned.

    • TexanForever

      LOL. … great handle. … And there’s other ways to comment without actually commenting, if you get my drift.
      .

  • C B

    Sadly , this is the First Mistake POTUS has made . You will see later that he just empowered the Little Liberal Democrats . I’d be surprised if they even thanked him and for sure they will tell us they were innocent and framed by racist Chinese .

  • TexanForever

    Too bad Trump didn’t let ’em rot in a Chinese prison for a few years, then ask for release. These idiots don’t realize they have damaged the USA, not just by making us look bad, but now Trump has given the Chinese president a marker he can use in the future for getting a favor from Trump.

    Hopefully, these three gentlemen thieves will be expelled from school so they can return to the ghetto, where they belong.

    • jlsharks1

      Expelled, you must be joking. They will get counselling and clouring books. And when they join the NBA they will take a knee because they were so badly treated.

      • TexanForever

        Yeah, you’re probably right. … And they’ll find a way to blame white people, especially Trump.
        .

    • Jim

      Yes, a terrible wast of personal capital. What a shame.

  • grandmother5

    If they did the crime they should do the time. They are not privilege in China. I guess they thought if they are privilege in the USA they are privilege world wide. Oppression? Far from it.

  • ProudAmericanVet

    These 3 are black. Must be just another case of oppression. Racist Chinese !

    • TexanForever

      … Well stated without violating any comment policy rules. We all know what should be said, but are silenced by PC.
      .

    • Legally Blonde

      Take a knee during the Chinese national anthem.

  • Dagoth Bob

    I can’t wait to see these 3 losers publicly thank Trump when they’re released. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. Somehow they’ll make this Trump’s fault.

    • TexanForever

      true dat
      .

    • PrincetonbytheSea

      Cashed in a Chip, that’ll carry no value, save for his efforts and doing the right thing for families.

  • Twinkle Toes

    These 3 mindless immature college students should be ashamed of themselves. And After what happened to Otto Warmbier, I’m amazed at their stupidity and lack of moral compass. Shame on them.