China’s handling of three arrested UCLA basketball players—LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley—could be a good sign, according to one expert.
If convicted, there is a possibility that the players could face between three and 10 years in Chinese prison.
Just getting out of detention, though, is extremely rare and bodes well for the players, according to Chinese lawyers and legal analysts who spoke to Yahoo Sports.
The development, they say, suggests that efforts by the United States government, and more specifically the local consulate and UCLA itself, have been effective in gaining very favorable treatment for the players.
“It is a very good sign,” said Teng Biao, visiting scholar at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at New York University. “I feel that they won’t be jailed again.”
Chinese law allows prosecutors to hold the accused for up to 37 days, making the quick turnaround promising for the three Bruins. Still, the players are being held at their hotel, are suspended for Friday’s game, and are expected to miss UCLA’s flight back from China, as of now.
Could the players see the charges lessened to the equivalent of a misdemeanor, pay a fine and head home with the team on Sunday? It’s possible but some involved cautioned against reading too much into any development.
“Right now they won’t [fly home with the team], but it could change,” a UCLA source told Yahoo Sports.
LaVar Ball has said that the incident is “not a big deal,” and this development could support that notion, but his son and the two other Bruins are not out of the woods yet.