American Airlines has issued an apology after removing two basketball players from a Christmas Eve flight following a theft accusation.
Memphis Hustle basketball players Marquis Teague and Trahson Burrell were given blankets by two first-class passengers as the two men headed to their coach seats aboard Flight 3756 operated by Envoy Air at DFW headed toSioux Falls, South Dakota. The two men, both African American, were then accused of stealing the blankets by an African American flight attendant and were forced to leave the plane following an argument. Teague and Burrell were given first-class seats on a later flight but missed having Christmas dinner with their team members.
“We apologize for what occurred on this flight,” American Airlines spokesman Joshua Freed told The Undefeated. “We take pride in bringing people together, and we know that on this flight we let some of our customers down. Our team at American, along with Envoy Air, is reviewing what happened and will be reaching out to [the two players and the assistant coach].”
The incident comes as American Airlines attempts to repair its standing with the NAACP after the civil rights organization issued a travel advisory warning African Americans about flying with the airline following a string of discriminatory incidents. American Airlines announced that beginning in 2018, everyone at the company will be required to complete annual implicit bias training to prevent incidents, such as this one, from occurring.