MIAMI (WJW) — Following an incident where NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. was taken off an airplane shortly before takeoff at Miami International Airport over the weekend, his lawyer is speaking out, calling the whole thing “unnecessary.”
According to officials, the star athlete, and former Browns player, was asked to leave after he failed to fasten his safety belt. Flight attendants were also reportedly worried that he may be ill.
“As they tried to wake (Beckham) to fasten his seat belt, he appeared to be coming in and out of consciousness,” Miami Dade Police Officer Luis Sierra said in a statement.
But lawyer Daniel Davillier said that his client was only snoozing on the plane and did eventually listen to flight attendants when asked to buckle his seatbelt.
“Odell Beckham Jr. boarded a morning flight in Miami without any problems,” Davillier said in a statement to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “The flight was delayed after boarding and prior to take off. Mr. Beckham fell asleep with his blanket over his head, which is his normal practice for long flights. 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 seatbelt on when asked. He responded that he was asleep, and that he would put his seatbelt on at that time. 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.”
The statement continues:
“The overzealous flight attendant insisted on removing everyone from the plane instead of simply allowing Mr. Beckham to fasten his seatbelt and proceed with the flight. At [no] time was Mr. Beckham disruptive or combative. He was willing to comply with the seatbelt requirement, but the flight attendant wanted to prove that he had the authority to have Mr. Beckham removed from the flight. The airline proceeded to send Mr. Beckham’s luggage to Los Angeles without him.
“That incident was unnecessary. Sleeping on a plane should not be a cause for removal from a flight. If they could wake him up when the flight returned to the gate, then they could have done the same thing to ask him to put on his seatbelt.”
Beckham himself took to Twitter following the much-publicized event, saying “Never in my life have I experienced what just happened to me.”
All of this comes as Beckham was set to meet with multiple teams in an effort to get back in the game, following yet another injury that occurred when he was with the Los Angeles Rams last season.