NFL free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was kicked off an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles on Sunday morning at Miami International Airport after refusing to comply with protocol security, according to a statement from the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Officers were notified of a medical emergency on an American Airlines flight around 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The flight crew became concerned for a passenger – identified by police as Beckham – as they attempted to wake him to fasten his seatbelt, according to a statement from Miami police.
“He seemed to go in and out of consciousness, before they left,” the police statement said. “Fearing that Mr. Beckham was seriously ill and that his condition would worsen during the planned 5 hour flight, the attendants called the police and the fire brigade.
When officers arrived, they repeatedly asked Beckham to get off the plane, and he refused, the statement said. The plane was disembarked, at which point officers asked Beckham to exit the plane and he did so without incident, the statement said.
“American Airlines Flight 1228, with service from Miami (MIA) to Los Angeles (LAX), returned to the gate before takeoff due to a customer not following instructions from members of crew and refused to fasten his 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.
Daniel Davillier, Beckham’s lawyer, released a statement saying his client had boarded the flight that morning without any problems. The flight had been delayed and Beckham fell asleep with his blanket over his head – normal practice for him on long flights, Davillier said.
“He was woken up and told the plane was back at the gate and he had to get off the plane because he hadn’t put his seat belt on when asked” , Davillier said in his statement, adding that Beckham had been told it was too late to tie. belt and either he had to get off the plane or everyone else had to disembark.
“The overzealous stewardess simply refused to allow Mr. Beckham to fasten his seatbelt and continue the flight and immediately got everyone off the plane,” Davillier said. “At no time was Mr Beckham disruptive or combative.”
Davillier called the incident “completely unnecessary”.
“Sleeping on an airplane should not be cause for expulsion from a flight,” the lawyer said. “If they could have woken him up when the flight came back to the gate, they could have done the same and woke him up to ask him to put on his seatbelt.”
No charges were filed in the incident and after being escorted by officers to the unsecured area of the terminal on Sunday morning, Beckham then “made alternate arrangements”, according to police.
Beckham is currently a free agent as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a knee injury sustained in Super Bowl LVI as a member of the Los Angeles Rams in February. Beckham had a touchdown in the Rams’ game-winning effort against the Cincinnati Bengals in that game.
Beckham was spotted in Miami sitting courtside during the Miami Heat-Washington Wizards game on Wednesday night, according to video posted on the official NBA Twitter account.