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.
From Miami-Dade Police on Odell Beckham Jr. being removed from a flight this morning: pic.twitter.com/ieD40w4wkv
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 27, 2022
Forcing us off the plane because you were unresponsive and unruly is not comedy to the hundreds of folks trying to get home dude. Not cool man. pic.twitter.com/9w6Y2X0sE4
— CG (@TheMalibuArtist) November 27, 2022
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.
A statement from Daniel Davilier — Odell Beckham Jr’s Attorney: pic.twitter.com/2ofpyHGJ5A
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 27, 2022
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.
Never in my life have I experienced what just happened to me… I’ve seen it alll..
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) November 27, 2022
The flight was ultimately delayed two hours.