UCLA players suspended after China incident

UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill have been suspended indefinitely after returning from a China trip where they were held for shoplifting.

“They will have to earn their way back,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said in a news conference Wednesday.

Alford said that the players will not travel, will not suit up for road games or take part in practice while the school performs a review of the situation.

The players were questioned last week about allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel in Hangzhou, where the Bruins had been staying before leaving for Shanghai to face Georgia Tech on Friday. They were released on bail early Wednesday morning and had been staying at a lakeside hotel in Hangzhou since then.

President Trump, who was already on an Asia trip, spoke to President Xi Jinping of China about the incident and the players were allowed to return to the United States on Tuesday.

“These are good young men who have exercised an inexcusable lapse of judgment, and now they have to live with that,” Alford said.

All three players read statements of apology at Wednesday’s news conference.

LiAngelo Ball, brother of Lakers star Lonzo Ball, said: “I didn’t exercise my best judgment and I’m sorry for that.”

“This does not define who I am,” he added. “My family raised me better than that.”

President Trump had tweeted about being thanked earlier Wednesday.

All three players, Alford and UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero did offer their thanks to the president.

“I’d also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help they gave us as well,” Ball said.

Riley said: “To President Trump and the United States government: Thanks for taking the time to help us out.”

“Thank you to the United States government and President Trump for your efforts to bring us home,” Hill said.

Guerrero offered some details on the incident. He said that the players stole from three stores, were arrested and posted bail of about $2,200. That money has since been refunded as charges were withdrawn.

All five people at the news conference also thanked the Chinese police and government for their handling of the situation.

Riley said that he was “embarrassed and sorry.”

“I take my responsibility for what I did — shoplifting,” he said. “I didn’t just let my school down but my country.”

Hill made a point of apologizing to fans.

“What I did was stupid. There’s no other way to put it. I’m not that type of person,” he added

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