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Trump says he should have left 3 UCLA players in jail after LaVar Ball's comments

LaVar Ball and President Trump. (Left: AP Photo/John Locher, Right: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump says he should have left the three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China in jail following comments from LaVar Ball, the famous father of one of the players.

According to ESPN, LaVar Ball responded with "Who?" when he was asked about Trump's role in bringing son LiAngelo Ball and his teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill back home.

"What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing," LaVar Ball said per ESPN. "Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."

That promoted the following social media post from the President on Sunday.

"Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal," Trump said. "I should have left them in jail!

LiAngelo Ball, Riley and Hill were all accused of being involved in a shoplifting incident in Hangzhou during the week leading up to the Bruins' seasons-opening game against Georgia Tech.

LaVar Ball has become famous in the sports world for his controversial comments, especially surrounding his older son and Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.

They were all sat for the game by head coach Steve Alford and detained in China while authorities investigated the incident. On Tuesday, Trump said he had discussed the incident with Chinese president Xi Jinping and asked for his help to resolve the issue.

"President Xi has been terrific on that subject, but that was not a good subject," Trump told ABC News. "That was not something that should have happened."

Later that same day, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the matter “has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities," according to the Associated Press.

Riley, Hill and Ball all thanked the President during a public apology on Wednesday.

"This does not define who I am," LiAngelo said. "My family raised me better than that."

Head coach Steve Alford announced that all three players are suspended indefinitely during that same press event.


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