Ball, Hill and Riley suspended indefinitely.
UCLA freshmen basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley spoke to reporters at a press conference today, for the first time since being arrested in China. During the press conference, the three players apologized for their bonehead mistake, and each thanked President Trump for his efforts in helping them get home.
Trump reportedly spoke with China's President Xi Jinping last weekend in Beijing, and Xi promised that the three players would be treated fairly and expeditiously. Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were caught on camera shoplifting from three stores inside a high-end shopping center, which includes Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo stores.
Today, prior to the UCLA basketball press conference, Trump tweeted, "Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!"
And Trump got his wish.
Ball, Hill and Riley publicly thanked him and the U.S. government for helping them return home.
“I’d like to start off by saying sorry for stealing from the stores in China. I didn’t exercise my best judgment and I was wrong for that,” Ball said, thanking the Chinese police “for treating me so respectfully even after I made a stupid decision.”
“I would also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they provided,” Ball added.
“To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf. We really appreciate you helping us out,” said Riley. “I feel terrible and I’m sorry to everybody who I’ve let down.”
“Thank you to [the] United States government and President Trump for your efforts to bring us home,” said Hill. “What I did was stupid. There’s no other way to put it.”
The three players, who had been detained in Hangzhou, China since November 7th, returned home last night. During today's press conference, Bruins head coach Steve Alford announced that each player would be suspended indefinitely, meaning they will not travel with the team or dress for home games. Alford said, "they will have to earn their way back."
UCLA athletic director, Dan Guerrero, also thanked Trump and his administration during the press conference, and gave some details about how the players found themselves in trouble during their 90 minutes of free time.
You can listen to some of their comments below.