A pair of G League players were removed from an American Airlines flight on Christmas Eve after being accused by a flight attendant of stealing blankets from first class, according to The Undefeated.
Upon boarding a flight from Dallas to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Memphis Hustle teammates Marquis Teague and Trahson Burrell reportedly received the blankets as gifts from two first-class passengers. When a flight attendant accused them of stealing the blankets, an argument ensued, and the flight attendant refused to let the plane take off until the players de-boarded, according to the report.
Hustle head coach Glynn Cyprien took to Twitter to criticize the airline on Christmas Eve afternoon:
American Airlines Needs Sensitivity Training to Attendants on flights dealing with Humans & Blankets! 👎🏾✈️🤷🏾♂️
— Glynn Cyprien (@CoachCyprien) December 24, 2017
Minutes later, Hustle assistant coach Darnell Lazare took that suggestion a step further:
It’s 2017 and a Flight attendant for @AmericanAir sees 2 young black athletes with blankets from first class, his 1st comment is “did you steal them” how about you teach people to get the facts first before jumping to conclusions. 🤔#beingblackinamerican
— Darnell Lazare (@Dhouse35) December 24, 2017
According to The Undefeated, “The flight attendant also appeared to be African-American.”
American Airlines reportedly apologized to the players, arranged for a later flight with first-class tickets and vowed to investigate the incident. The Hustle will also investigate, according to the report.
“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.”
Teague and Burrell missed a holiday team dinner, the report said. The Hustle played the Austin Spurs on Dec. 22, in Southaven, Mississippi, and then faced the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Christmas Day. Teague and Burrell combined for 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 131-115 victory against the Skyforce.
Teague, 24, the younger of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague, played three NBA seasons for the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets from 2012-14. Burrell, 24, has played in the G League since finishing his college career at the University of Memphis in 2016.