NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was removed from an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles Sunday morning at Miami International Airport after refusing to comply with safety protocol, according to a statement from the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Officers were notified of a medical emergency aboard an American Airlines flight around 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The flight crew grew concerned for a passenger — identified by police as Beckham — as they tried to wake him up to fasten his seat belt, according to a statement from Miami police.
“It appeared that he was entering and losing consciousness before they left,” the police statement read. “Fearing that Mr. Peckham was seriously ill, and that his condition would worsen during the expected 5-hour flight, the flight attendants called the police and fire rescue.”
When the officers arrived, they asked Beckham to get off the plane several times, and he refused, according to the statement. The plane deplaned, the statement said, at which point officers told Beckham to exit the plane and he did so without incident.
American Airlines Flight 1228, with service from Miami (MIA) to Los Angeles (LAX), returned to the gate prior to takeoff due to the customer’s failure to follow crew member instructions and refusal to fasten seat belt (sic). “The customer was removed, and the flight departed at 10:54 a.m. local time,” American Airlines said in a statement obtained by CNN.
Beckham’s attorney, Daniel Davelier, released a statement saying his client got on the plane that morning without any issues. Davelier said the flight was delayed and Beckham slept with his blanket over his head – a normal practice for him on long flights.
“He was woken up 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,” Devillier’s statement read, adding that Beckham had been told it was too late to buckle up. belt and will either need to get off the plane or everyone will have to get off the plane.
“The overzealous air hostess refused to allow Mr. Beckham to simply fasten his seatbelt and proceed with the flight, and instead removed everyone from the plane immediately,” said Davelier. “At no time was Mr. Peckham ever callous or combative.”
Devilliers described the incident as “totally unnecessary”.
“Sleeping on an airplane should not be grounds for removal from the flight,” the lawyer said. “If they can wake him up when the flight returns to the gate, they can do the same and wake him up to tell him to put his seatbelt on.”
No charges were filed in the incident and after officers escorted him to the unsafe area of the station Sunday morning, Beckham then “made other arrangements,” police say.
Beckham is currently a free agent as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a knee injury Super Bowl LVI as a member of the Los Angeles Rams in February. Beckham had caught a touchdown on the Rams’ winning effort against the Cincinnati Bengals in that game.
Beckham was seen in Miami sitting down at the Miami Heat-Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, according to a video posted online. The official Twitter account for the NBA.
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