UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were arrested for shoplighting sunglasses during a trip to Shanghai for a game against Georgia Tech. President Trump tweeted Wednesday that the players were facing 10 years in prison, despite earlier reports that they would serve 20 days under house arrest.
Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017
At a press conference Wednesday, Cody Riley thanked President Trump for securing his release.
“To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf,” UCLA basketball player Cody Riley said.
UCLA basketball players detained for shoplifting in China thank Pres. Trump for his help in bringing them home: "We really appreciate you helping us out." https://t.co/YdBGH65S4m pic.twitter.com/AmkGkIG2kC
— ABC News (@ABC) November 15, 2017
LA Times reports:
Trump said Tuesday that he had spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the three athletes, who were taken into custody while in Hangzhou for a game against Georgia Tech.
Their teammates left China after the game, but freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were held until Tuesday, when they boarded a plane in Shanghai. When they arrived in Los Angeles, the three ignored reporters’ questions. They planned to speak at a news conference Wednesday.
The players have not explained the circumstances of their confinement, but Trump on Tuesday said that “what they did was unfortunate.”
“You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences,” he said, then added of the Chinese: “They do not play games.”
At the press conference, UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Alford said “I can’t thank enough the incredible folks here at UCLA, at the Pac-12 and even President Trump and his administration for the nonstop efforts to resolve this situation.”
UCLA men's basketball coach Steve Alford: "I can't thank enough the incredible folks here at UCLA, at the Pac-12 and even President Trump and his administration for the nonstop efforts to resolve this situation." https://t.co/MCkbQFPeJ6 pic.twitter.com/3VQ9YgM0Kx
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 15, 2017