Police: NFL Wide Receiver Was ‘In And Out Of Consciousness’ When Refusing To Deplane Flight

Sidelined NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (“OBJ”) was kicked off of American Airlines Miami – Los Angeles flight 1228 on Sunday after an altercation with a flight attendant over whether he was refusing to buckle his seatbelt.

According to police the free agent was “slipping in and out of consciousness.” The incident occurred after the plane had left the gate, and then returned. He refused to deplane. All of the aircraft’s passengers were offloaded, and he was taken off by police.

According to the athlete’s attorney he never refused to buckle his seatbelt, and ‘slipping in and out of consciousness’ was just his falling asleep. His blanket was over his head.

Ultimately the plane was taxiing out and the passenger didn’t have his seat belt fastened. Maybe he was sober and would have complied if given more of a chance, he was exhausted and ‘out of it’ as he woke up and didn’t comply fast enough. Maybe they didn’t need to return to the gate. But these sorts of situations are rife for misunderstanding, and there’s risk in taking off with a non-compliant passenger refusing to following instructions. They decided to address it while still on the ground, rather than risking an incident or diversion. And Beckham was violating the rules.

On long flights and early or super late flights, it’s common for crew to make an announcement that passengers should buckle their seat belts on top of blankets where they’re visible to crew, so that they don’t need to be woken for seat belt checks. Here the passenger should have belted up before falling asleep.

Even if the flight attendant was overzealous (could have done better customer service) there wasn’t much time – the flight would be in the air soon and the captain had to make a decision.

The flight was ultimately delayed two hours.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I have no doubt Jerry Jones of the Cowboys will sign him now. Jerry can’t seem to resist spoiled, crybaby athletes. OBJ is an incredible talent but not worth the drama.

  2. @Jaybird – 100% agree. I live in Dallas and Jerry Jones loves to sign thugs to play for his team – overpriced thugs at that!! Go Eagles!!

  3. His lawyer is cracking me the F*ck up !! , if you needed your attorney over this you definitely did something wrong !!

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