UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, left, LiAngelo Ball, right, and Jalen Hill, background center, are surrounded by the media as they leave the Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Los Angeles. The three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting returned home, where they may be disciplined by the school as a result of the international scandal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were questioned and arrested by police after they were accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel in Hangzhou, China. If convicted, the trio would have faced 10-year sentences in China’s prison system.
Ball, Riley and Hill apologized to their team members, friends and family Wednesday at a news conference.
UCLA's Jalen Hill thanks everyone involved in helping him and his teammates return from China, including President Trump. pic.twitter.com/nUqobXtX2t
“I’d like to start off by saying sorry for stealing from the store from China. I didn’t exercise my best judgement, and I was wrong for that,” Ball said. “I also apologize to the people of China for causing them so much trouble. I’m a young man, however, that’s not an excuse for making a stupid decision.”
The trio also thanked their fellow teammates, school officials and the U.S. government for the work done to bring them back to the United States.
"To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf," Riley said. "We really appreciate you helping us out."
Ball, Riley and Hill were released and allowed to return to the United States on Tuesday after Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on their behalf.
“The basketball players, by the way — I know a lot of people are asking — I will tell you, when I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post. “What they did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. (The Chinese) do not play games.”
UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford said on Wednesday that Ball, Riley and Hill will be “suspended indefinitely.”
"These are good young men who exercised an inexcusable lack of judgment," Alford said. “At some point, they may be permitted to join team workouts, practices and meetings, but that timeline has yet to be determined. They will have to earn their way back."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.