Trump just saved the necks of three foolish UCLA players who shoplifted while they were in China for a basketball game. They are now on a delta flight home.
Three UCLA basketball players who were under police investigation in China board flight home after Trump intervenes https://t.co/vdlHsumxXc
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 14, 2017
CBSLA – Three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China may be on their way back to Los Angeles.
Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were seen checking into a Delta flight bound for Los Angeles at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The development comes just hours after President Donald Trump told reporters he had a long conversation on the matter with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
“They’re working on it right now,” Trump told reporters in the Philippines as he prepared to return to Washington after a nearly two-week visit to Asia that included an earlier stop in Beijing.
The UCLA freshmen were detained last week for questioning about allegations of shoplifting before a recent game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai. The UCLA team returned to the U.S. without them on Saturday.
According to reports, there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside a high-end retail center next to their hotel.
Since being detained, Riley, Hill, and Ball – the brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball – have been on house arrest at their hotel.
Trump had this to say about it to reporters on Air Force 1:
Before departing Manila on AF1 @POTUS on #UCLA b-ball player arrests in China:— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) November 14, 2017
"What they did was unfortunate. You know, you're talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games. President Xi has been terrific on that subject. But that was not a good subject."
You know this was really a magnanimous gesture by Trump to save their necks. The Chinese had every right to punish these players for doing something so stupid. They owe much to both Trump and the Chinese leaders who let them off the hook.