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Wendell Brown is a free man after serving three years in a southwest China prison for a crime he didn't commit. Brown, 33, hugged his mother, Antoinette Brown, and other relatives at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Wednesday, Sept. 25, in Romulus, Mich.

Brown returned from China where he was imprisoned for defending himself in a bar fight. He was in China teaching English and American football to children when he was arrested in September 2016 and charged with intentional assault.

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WXYZ Detroit

A crowd of supporters greeted him with cheers upon his arrival. Brown told reporters he's been "waiting on this moment for years."

Brown's mother previously stated she would gladly give credit to President Trump if he appealed to the Chinese government to release her son.

It isn't clear if Trump intervened on Brown's behalf.

Brown played for Ball State University in Indiana.

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Former Ball State football player Wendell Brown has languished in a Chinese jail for over 500 days, and his parents are still waiting for answers from the U.S. government. Brown, 32, was arrested after a bar fight in 2016. Surveillance video shows Brown defending himself as bottles were being thrown at him.

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Ball's 18-year-old son LiAngelo, brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, was arrested along with two other UCLA freshmen for stealing a pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses at a high end mall in China earlier this month.

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When Antoinette Brown saw the news that three UCLA basketball players were arrested for shoplifting in China, her heart sank. She thought about the pain their parents would go through.

“I felt bad for them because I know what we’ve been through," she said. "I thought, these poor guys and their families are going to go through hell."

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