16:38 GMT26 January 2021
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    A pair of tweets by President Donald Trump saying that perhaps the three American basketball players detained in China on criminal charges should have stayed there due to the lack of gratitude from one of their parents has sent tempers flaring on the social media platform.

    President Trump rocked Twitter Sunday with remarks slamming LaVar Ball, the father of one of the three UCLA college basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting who were released last week following a presidential intervention. Mr. Ball sparked Trump's anger after questioning how instrumental the president's efforts were in resolving the issue.

    ​In an interview on Friday, Ball refused to recognize Trump's role in releasing his son and the two other players, who faced up to 5-10 years in a Chinese jail, according to the president. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out," Ball told ESPN.

    Trump's remarks, particularly the "I should have left them in jail!" line, has sparked Twitter rage from his detractors.

    However, supporters defended the president, saying he has a right to be angry, given his actions in getting the players out jail.

    ​LaVar Ball is the kind of father who lives through his kids. Trump was nice enough to get LiAngelo out of jail and LaVar had the nerve to call it no big deal.

    Some users also complained about alleged media bias, saying that Trump's tweets got more coverage than his diplomatic efforts in freeing the players. They were met with remarks from users suggesting the president is the one fueling the media frenzy through his incessant use of Twitter.

    The three players- LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, were arrested on November 7 and released the next day, but ordered to stay in China pending the results of a police investigation. On November 14, they were allowed to leave the country, and flew back home to the US. The next day, Trump complained about a lack of thanks for his intervention. Trump completed a 12 day tour of five Asian countries last week, visiting with leaders of China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines and taking part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.

    Tags:
    shoplifting, basketball players, basketball, reaction, remarks, social media, Twitter, UCLA, LaVar Ball, Donald Trump, China, US
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