UCLA basketball players thank Trump, apologize for actions in China

The UCLA basketball players who returned to the U.S. Tuesday night after being detained in China thanked President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE on Wednesday for helping to secure their release.

LiAngelo BallJalen Hill and Cody Riley apologized for their actions during a weeklong trip to China, during which they were arrested and accused of stealing a pair of sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou. 

"To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf," Riley said in a news conference. "We really appreciate you helping us out."


The detentions overlapped with Trump's own trip to China. He reportedly raised the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump took credit for securing the players' release, and questioned whether the three players would thank him for his efforts, warning that they otherwise could have spent "10 years in jail."

"Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump?" Trump wrote on Twitter. "They were headed for 10 years in jail!"

The three players have been suspended from the team indefinitely until they are able to "earn their way back," UCLA head basketball coach Steve Alford said Wednesday.

"Trust is earned, it isn’t just given," he said. "These three young men will remain suspended indefinitely from our program."

The rest of the UCLA men's basketball team returned to the U.S. last week after Ball, Hill and Riley were detained, leaving the three players in China.