“I should have left them in jail!” President Donald Trump tweeted in reference to the UCLA basketball players arrested in November for shoplifting in China. According to a new report from ESPN’s Arash Markazi, though, Trump’s involvement didn’t come until the players had already resolved the case and made plans to return to Los Angeles. Three Bruins freshmen—LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill—were arrested on Nov. 7 for shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store the day before. They surrendered their passports and were allowed to return to the team hotel after paying bail. On Friday, Nov. 10, according to Markazi, the players were given back their passports and bail money and the charges were dropped. They would be headed home soon, “but there was a secret handshake agreement between school officials and Chinese authorities that the players would not leave until Tuesday, one week after they had been detained.” It wasn’t until two days later, five days after the players were arrested, that Trump learned of the situation and decided to step in. “The situation was already resolved by the time we heard about Trump’s involvement,” Markazi quotes one team source as saying. “That’s not to take away from the fact that he got involved, but the players already had their passports back and their flights booked to go home Tuesday night when [White House chief of staff] Gen. [John] Kelly called the players.” The amount of credit Trump should or should not have been given for bringing the players home became a massive point of contention in the ensuing days.
Donald Trump exaggerated his role in resolving UCLA shoplifting case
SI | Mar 3