The three UCLA basketball players who were arrested in China for shoplifting spoke today about their “mistake” and apologized. They also addressed President Donald J. Trump’s intervention in the matter, as his personal appeal to Chinese President Xi Jinping helped pave the way for their release and freedom from a potentially lengthy jail stay.
UCLA’s Cody Riley started off the comments, saying he was sorry about shoplifting, and further apologized to his family, the school, and America. He then thanked the Chinese police and government, who took good care of the trio. Next, he thanked the president.
“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,” he said.
Next, LiAngelo Ball spoke, admitting to stealing from “stores” in China, and saying he hadn’t used his “best judgment.”
“This does not define who I am. My family raised me better than that. I’m going to make myself a better person from here on out,” Ball stated.
Ball said he appreciated the Chinese police for treating him with respect, as well as efforts made on his behalf by UCLA, President Trump, and the United States government.
Finally, Jalen Hill spoke. He also offered apologies for his actions and said he felt bad about the negative attention he placed on his team and family.
“I don’t want to be known for this dumb mistake. I want to be known for my respectfulness, and for my love and passion for the game of basketball,” Hill said.
Hill thanked “everyone” involved in this whole ordeal, including, “the United States government and President Trump, for your efforts to bring us home.”
Coach Steve Alford said the three players are suspended indefinitely from the program.
You may watch the entire press conference in the video below. The players’ statements begin at minute-mark 20:08.
UCLA ballplayer Cody Riley thanks Pres Trump for intervening to get him and fellow players released from detention in China for shoplifting. “We really appreciate you helping us out,” he says of Pres Trump. They apologize for their actions. pic.twitter.com/a1p7QfI5NE
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 15, 2017
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 15, 2017