LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork) — Three UCLA basketball players caught shoplifting in China offered apologies to the media Wednesday as new details emerged about the crime that caused them to be detained halfway across the world.
A contrite Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball, and Jalen Hill faced the music back at their school.
“I want to start off by saying how embarrassed and ashamed I am for disappointing my family,” Riley said Wednesday.
The trio returned from China Tuesday evening after being detained there on suspicion of shoplifting. All three young men admitted to breaking the law.
“What I did was stupid, there’s no other way to put it,” Hill said. “I’m not that type of person.”
President Donald Trump spoke to his Chinese counterpart directly while he was visiting the country last week. The president said the young men were facing ten years of jail time under Chinese law.
“I would also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they provided as well,” Ball said.
Riley, Ball, and Hill are suspended indefinitely while the university conducts a review. The three student-athletes will not be permitted to travel with the team and won’t suit up for home games, either.
“My expectation is they will work hard to demonstrate why they deserve to be a part of this program,” head coach Steve Alford said.
School officials remained silent last week while the students were detained. UCLA’s athletics director told the media the theft occurred during the players’ free time.
“‘Gelo, Jalen, and Cody used that time to visit several stores that were adjacent to the hotel,” Athletics Director Dan Guerrero said. “It was at that time they took the items from three of those stores without paying for them.”
UCLA says it still has to determine who is responsible for the expenses incurred while the students remained in China. They added it was the school’s decision to have the students remain at the hotel out of an abundance of caution.