LONDON – NFL star player Odell Beckham Jr has been removed from an American Airlines flight at Miami International Airport by police after flight crew became concerned about his health.
The incident occurred during the departure of flight 1228 on Sunday around 9.30am local time.
Members of the American Airlines flight crew had reportedly attempted to wake Beckham prior to the flight’s departure but “he appeared to be coming in and out of consciousness” according to an airline statement.
The airline went on to say that Flight 1228 returned to the gate before takeoff “due to a customer failing to follow crew member instructions and refusing to fasten their seat belt.”
Flight crew subsequently raised the alarm to 911.
According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, officers were called to the airport in response to a ‘medical emergency’ following flight crew concerns that Beckham was seriously ill.
“The flight crew was concerned for a passenger [Mr. Odell Beckham Jr], as they tried to wake him to fasten his seat belt, he appeared to be coming in and out of consciousness, prior to their departure,” a statement from the Miami-Dade Police Department read.
“Fearing that Mr. Beckham was seriously ill, and that his condition would worsen through the expected 5-hour flight, the attendants called for police and fire rescue. Upon the officers’ arrival, the flight crew asked Mr. Beckham several times to exit the aircraft, which he refused.”
Beckham reportedly initially refused requests to disembark the aircraft after officers arrived, but eventually complied with instructions and deplaned without incident.
Defending Beckham’s actions, the NFL player’s attorney Daniel Davillier dismissed the claims and stated that his client had simply been sleeping and the situation developed as a result of “an overzealous flight attendant.”
Mr Davillier went on to characterize the subsequent response as “completely unnecessary.”
Some passengers who have posted to social media present a different angle on the incident.
Beckham subsequently took to social media to express his frustration with the incident.
The NFL wide receiver has not played this season following a torn ligament injury sustained at last year’s Super Bowl. The player currently has the interest of several teams including New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.