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Detroit native and former CFL player Wendell Brown to be released from Chinese jail next fall

Wendell Brownstanding at the front of a classroom
Courtesy of Antoinette Brown
Wendell Brown teaching a group of Chinese people about American football

Former Canadian Football League player and Detroit native Wendell Brown will be released from Chinese jail next fall.

Brown was coaching American football in Chongqing, China when he was arrested after an alleged bar fight in September 2016.

Brown, who was a linebacker for Ball State University and  Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Austria's Swarco Raiders, claimed self-defense, but was sentenced to four years in jail.

Brown’s attorney says the man who accused him later admitted Brown, who appealed his sentence back in June, did not assault him.

The appeal verdict came Tuesday morning in China, or around 10 p.m. last night in Michigan. Brown had one year knocked off his sentence.

Brown’s sentence includes the time he served while waiting for a trial. He will be released as late as September 24, 2019.

Antoinette Brown, Wendell’s mom, says the family was relieved to hear the good news.

“It just felt good to know that we could clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Antoinette Brown said.

Brown says she and the family were able to video chat with Wendell after his appeal verdict was announced last night. She says her son says he wants to travel with her when he is set free.

“He wants me to see the world. China is a beautiful place and there’s so many beautiful people there. He still wants me to come to China, but of course, I’m not feeling that way,” she said.

Brown says her son looked healthy and was in good spirits when they chatted.

“He looks good and he looks healthy, he was laughing and smiling a lot with [the family] when we talked to him so I’m really still overjoyed we got to speak to him,” she said.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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