Report: LiAngelo Ball, UCLA players had all shoplifting charges dropped
The three UCLA basketball players who were arrested for shoplifting in China last week were finally allowed to return home on Tuesday, and it appears as though they will be coming back to the United States with no blemishes on their official police records.
According to a report from Mark Dreyer of China Sports Insider, all of the charges against UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill have been dropped. The players were permitted to leave the country on Tuesday after being placed under a version of house arrest at their hotel for a week, and Dreyer reports that they were not officially deported or escorted to the airport.
U.S. president Donald Trump arrived in China for a two-day stay the day after the arrests took place, and he spoke with Chinese president Xi Jinping about resolving the case. Sources told ESPN’s Arash Markazi that Trump’s involvement helped expedite the process, though there was never any real chance of the players serving jail time.
My sources on this story had said from the beginning that the players would only be in Hangzhou for a week, maybe two. There was never a chance of a lengthy stay or prison term. Trump's involvement, I'm told, expedited their release. There was no need to make this a bigger story.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 14, 2017
The three players are fortunate to have avoided legal trouble after surveillance footage reportedly showed them shoplifting from three high-end stores, but they could still face disciplinary action from UCLA. The school has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, during which Ball, Riley and Hill are expected to give statements. The three were already ripped on national television by one UCLA legend and are sure to face much more criticism.