NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. removed from American Airlines flight after crew 'concerned' for his health: Police

His attorney says Beckham had just fallen asleep with a blanket over his head.

November 27, 2022, 7:47 PM

Star NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr was "removed" from an American Airlines flight in Miami after the flight's crew expressed concern over the football player's health, according to police.

Officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department were dispatched to a medical emergency on an American Airlines flight Sunday at around 9:30 a.m., the department said in a statement.

As members of the flight crew tried to wake Beckham to fasten his seat belt prior to departure, "he appeared to be coming in and out of consciousness," according to the statement.

The flight attendants then called 911 due to concerns that Beckham was "seriously ill" and that his condition could worsen during the five-hour flight to Los Angeles, police said.

PHOTO: Odell Beckham Jr. walks court-side at the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards NBA game, Nov 23, 2022, in Miami.
Odell Beckham Jr. walks court-side at the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards NBA game, Nov 23, 2022, in Miami.
Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

When officers arrived, Beckham allegedly refused several requests to exit the plane, police said. After the aircraft was deplaned, Beckham followed requests by officers to exit the plane "without incident," according to authorities.

"Mr. Beckham was escorted to the non-secure area of the terminal by the officers where he made other arrangements," police said.

According to a statement by American Airlines, 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."

The flight departed at 10:54 a.m. after "the customer was removed," according to American Airlines.

PHOTO: Odell Beckham Jr. attends the ESPYS, July 20,2022, in Los Angeles.
Odell Beckham Jr. attends the ESPYS, July 20,2022, in Los Angeles.
ABC Television via Getty Images

Beckham boarded the flight Sunday morning in Miami "without any problems" and fell asleep with his blanket over his head, "which is his normal practice for long flights," his attorney, Daniel Davillier, said in a statement to ABC News.

"He was awakened and told that the plane was back at the gate and that he needed to get off the plane because he did not put his seat belt on when asked," Davillier said.

Beckham then replied that he was asleep and that he would put his seat belt on at that time, to which "he was informed that it was too late, and that either he would have to get off the plane or everyone would have to deplane," said Davillier.

"The overzealous flight attendant refused to simply allow Mr. Beckham to fasten his seat belt and proceed with the flight, and instead immediately removed everyone from the plane," Davillier said.

Beckham was at no time "disruptive or combative," and "was willing to comply with the seat belt requirement," the attorney said. "But the flight attendant wanted to prove that he had the authority to have Mr. Beckham removed from the flight."

Davillier described the incident as "completely unnecessary" and said that "sleeping on a plane should not be a cause for removal from a flight." He said that the airline sent Beckham’s luggage to Los Angeles without him.

Beckham, posting on Twitter later in the morning, appeared to express disbelief over the incident.

"Never in my life have I experienced what just happened to me," he tweeted. "I've seen it all."

Beckham, who is recovering from an ACL injury, is currently a free agent and is not on an NFL roster. The wide receiver was the New York Giants' first-round draft pick in 2014 and has also played with the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams.

ABC News' Darren Reynolds contributed to this report.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events