Free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was removed from an American Airlines flight on Sunday from Miami to Los Angeles after officers were called to respond to a “medical emergency,” the Miami-Dade (Florida) Police Department announced on Sunday.
Police added Beckham was not detained nor cited, per NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero.
Police said in a statement on Sunday that the flight crew was concerned for a passenger, identified as Beckham, after they attempted to wake him to fasten his seatbelt, and Beckham “appeared to be coming in and out of consciousness, prior to their departure.”
“Fearing that Mr. Beckham was seriously ill, and that his condition would worsen through the expected 5 hour flight, the attendants called for police and fire rescue,” police said in a statement. “Upon the officers arrival, the flight crew asked Mr. Beckham several times to exit the aircraft, which he refused. The aircraft was deplaned, at which time Mr. Beckham was asked by the officers to exit the plane, and did so without incident. Mr. Beckham was escorted to the non-secure area of the terminal by the officers where he made other arrangements.”
American Airlines released the following statement:
“American Airlines flight 1228, with service from Miami (MIA) to Los Angeles (LAX), returned to the gate before takeoff due to a customer failing to follow crew member instructions and refusing to fasten their seatbelt. The customer was removed and the flight re-departed at 10:45 a.m. local time.”
Beckham’s attorney, Daniel Davilier, said in a statement on Sunday that Beckham was asleep due to a flight delay, and “at no time was Mr. Beckham disruptive or combative.”
“Mr. Beckham fell asleep with his blanket over his head, which is his normal practice for long flights,” Davilier said. “He was awaken and told that the plane was back at the gate and that he needed to get off the plane because he did not put his seatbelt on when asked. He responded that he was asleep, and that he would put his seatbelt on at that time. He was informed that it was too late, and that either he would have to get off the plane or everyone would have to deplane.”
Davilier added: “That incident was unnecessary. Sleeping on a plane should not be a cause for removal from a flight. If they could wake him up when the flight returned to the gate, then they could have done the same thing to ask him to put on his seatbelt.”
Beckham appeared to reference the incident in a series of tweets on Sunday.
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