After just under a week of speculation of how the legal process would play out for a trio of UCLA freshmen caught shoplifting in China, LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill are on their way back to America. The group was released by Chinese police following their detainment for nabbing Louis Vuitton sunglasses; the police reportedly had video of the crime and questioned them in the team hotel days before their season-opening win against Georgia Tech.
The news was first reported Tuesday morning by the Wall Street Journal, when airline employees spotted the UCLA players boarding a plane in Shanghai headed for Los Angeles. Their release was later confirmed in a statement by Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott:
Their release comes a day after it was reported that Donald Trump personally asked Chinese president Xi Jinping to look into the case and help the Bruins players skip out on any arduous legal proceedings. In speaking with reporters on Air Force One this morning, Trump confirmed yesterday’s report, saying he had a “great conversation” with Xi, adding that “President Xi has been terrific on that subject. But that was not a good subject. That was not something that should have happened.”
I tremble thinking about just what it was that the self-proclaimed “great negotiator” gave up to get the middle Ball child back.