China Sport Insider also reported that “all charges against the three have been dropped – despite all the evidence against them – meaning the trio return home with a clean record. They were also allowed to travel home in relative freedom rather than being escorted to the airport and officially deported.” During his recent visit to China, President Donald Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for assistance in releasing the three players, who allegedly shoplifted from multiple high-end stores in Hangzhou, China and then remained under house arrest even as their UCLA teammates flew back home following the team’s win over Georgia Tech Nov. 11.
PAC-12 Commish Larry Scott on the 3 UCLA Basketball Players finally returning home to LA from China pic.twitter.com/ITe72oXPEi— NICK HAMILTON (@NickHamiltonLA) November 14, 2017
“I think [Trump’s request] will make a big difference because this just happened when he visited China,” Zhe Sun, Co-Director of the China Initiative at Columbia University, told ZAGSBLOG. “But this time I think Xi Jinping’s office will definitely try to find out what happened, will take this seriously and ask what happened, so I think they’ll make a quick deal.” It remains unclear what will happen next for the UCLA trio, but a source said they could face suspensions from the team. UCLA next plays Wednesday against Central Arkansas. Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And Like ZAGS on Facebook
On Air Force One, Pres Trump told the press pool he intervened with Pres Xi about 3 UCLA basketball players being held in China on suspicion of shoplifting. “What they did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games.”— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 14, 2017