President Donald Trump asked China President Xi Jinping to help resolve the shoplifting case against three UCLA men’s basketball players, according to the Washington Post. After the three men were brought home, Trump tweeted, questioning if the players would thank him. They did, the president responded, and all was thought to be over. That was until ESPN asked LaVar Ball about Trump’s involvement in getting his son and two other Bruins players home:
“Who?” Ball told ESPN when asked about Trump’s involvement in the matter. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
Here was the tweet in question from Trump:
Players did so on Wednesday during a press conference.
The three players — LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley — were arrested last week while on a trip in China for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store. They have been suspended indefinitely.
Trump arrived in China last week for a scheduled trip just one day after the players were arrested. He was briefed on the charges by Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and reportedly brought the cases to the attention of Xi. The Chinese president assured Trump that he would look into the cases and ensured that the players will be treated fairly and in a timely manner.
The report indicated that the charges against the players have been reduced and the cases are heading toward a resolution. It was previously reported that the players could potentially face a severe punishment for their actions in the matter in question, including being placed under house arrest for 20 days and a ban from the country.
UCLA arrived in China last week ahead of its regular-season opener against Georgia Tech on Saturday. The three players did not play in the Bruins’ 63-60 win over Georgia Tech and remained in China as the rest of the team flew back home to Los Angeles. ESPN reported on Friday that Chinese authorities have surveillance tape of the players shoplifting from three stores inside a high-end shopping center.
Chinese authorities also questioned three players from Georgia Tech in the incident but determined that those players were not involved and cleared them after an investigation. The three UCLA players were taken to a police station where they were held for a number of hours. They were released on bail early Wednesday morning and remained at the team’s hotel.