President Donald Trump on Sunday said he "should have left" three UCLA basketball players in custody in China because one of the player's fathers suggested Trump did not have much to do with his son's release.
Under Chinese law, the three players were facing years in prison for stealing sunglasses from a Versace store near the team's hotel prior to their regular season opener against Georgia Tech in Shanghai.
President Trump arrived in Beijing (as previously scheduled as part of a two-week Asia trip) just a day after the incident occurred and worked with Chinese President Xi Jinping to secure their release.
Trump, apparently sore about something said by a celebrity the rest of us have long ago learned to ignore, then said he should have left the UCLA players in jail, which is of course extremely presidential. Don't tell me nothing. I want to put it on the table. They will not travel with the team or suit up for home games.
After the players returned, Trump wondered on Twitter whether they would thank him for his intervention on their behalf.
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Athletic director Dan Guerrero said the shoplifting occurred when the team had 90 minutes of free time on November 6 in Hangzhou.
LaVar Ball told ESPN he was happy to have his son back, and also seemed to downplay his alleged crime. "I've learned my lesson from this big mistake, and I'm a hundred percent sure I'll never make a mistake like this again. I've seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses".
"They will have to earn their way back", Alford said.
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