According to multiple reports, President Donald Trump has asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the ongoing case against LiAngelo Ball and two other UCLA basketball players.
Ball and his fellow UCLA teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill remain in China as the rest of the team flew back to the United States following their game against Georgia Tech on Friday.
LiAngelo Ball and his teammates are accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store located next to the team hotel. According to a report by ESPN, the players could be required to remain in Hangzhou for at least week or two while authorities continue their investigation.
Trump arrived for a two-day state visit to Beijing a day after the three freshman players were accused of shoplifting. According to a report by the Washington Post, Xi promised Trump that he would look into the case and ensured that the players will be treated fairly and expeditiously.
The report also claims that the charges against the players have been reduced and that the case is proceeding towards a resolution. Fortunately, it seems like the players will be able to avoid China’s strict penalties for shoplifting.
Chinese law calls for a fine and between three to 10 years in prison for anyone convicted of “robbing public or private property using force, coercion, or other methods.”
However, I’m sure the players will be punished one way or another. But hopefully, they can learn from this and move on with their lives.
Since their arrest, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has reportedly served as an intermediary between UCLA and Chinese officials. Kelly has been in touch with the families of the players and has spoken with UCLA Coach Steve Alford.