Hours after Odell Beckham Jr. had to be escorted off an American Airlines flight in Miami following an incident involving the flight crew, a member of the free-agent wide receiver’s legal team has issued a statement addressing Sunday’s situation.
According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, Beckham was removed from the plane without incident after the flight crew grew concerned for the 30-year-old when he didn’t comply with a request to fasten his seatbelt while appearing to “be coming in and out of consciousness” prior to takeoff. American Airlines later released a statement saying that Beckham was asked to leave the flight headed for Los Angeles for “failing to follow crew members instructions and refusing to fasten [his] seatbelt.”
Daniel Davillier, Beckham’s attorney, explained the circumstances that eventually led to his client’s removal from the flight in a statement obtained by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Davillier refuted the claim that Beckham refused to listen to the crew, stating that he was asleep with a blanket over his head before he was told he needed to vacate the plane because he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
“Earlier today, Odell Beckham Jr. boarded a morning flight in Miami without any problems,” the statement began. “The flight was delayed after boarding and before taking off. Mr. Beckham fell asleep with his blanket over his head which is his normal practice for long flights. He was awakened 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.”
Davillier then explained that Beckham interacted with an “overzealous flight attendant” that sought to “prove that he had the authority to have Mr. Beckham removed from the flight.” Sunday’s disruption also caused the flight to be delayed and required passengers to board.
“The overzealous flight attendant insisted on removing everyone from the plane instead of simply allowing Mr. Beckham to fasten his seatbelt and proceed with the flight. At no time was Mr. Beckham disruptive or combative. He was willing to comply with the seatbelt requirement, but the flight attendant wanted to prove that he had the authority to have Mr. Beckham removed from the flight. The airline proceeded to send Mr. Beckham’s luggage to Los Angeles without him.
“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 his seatbelt on.”
Beckham is not currently expected to face any charges following the incident. The former All-Pro is still evaluating his options for his next team and is slated for upcoming free-agent visits with the Cowboys, Giants and Bills.
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