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Odell Beckham Jr has blamed an “overzealous flight attendant” for the seatbelt spat that saw him being removed from his flight by police.
He was escorted off a Los Angeles-bound flight at the Miami International Airport on Sunday after police said that he appeared to be slipping “in and out of consciousness” on the plane.
Law enforcement and fire rescue crews were called to the tarmac after the flight crew, trying to wake Mr Beckham Jr “to fasten his seat belt” became concerned that he might have been “seriously ill”.
According to a statement from the Miami-Dade police, once officers arrived at the scene, “the flight crew asked Mr Beckham Jr several times to exit the aircraft, which he refused”.
The 30-year-old NFL free agent wide receiveragreed to disembark only after the entire airplane was evacuated.
Meanwhile, later on Sunday, Mr Beckham Jr’s attorney, Daniel Davilier released a statement in which he said that the whole episode was “unnecessary” incident on an “overzealous flight attendant.”
The statement said that prior to takeoff, “Mr Beckham Jr fell asleep with his blanket over his head which is his normal practice for long flights. He was awaken [sic] 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”.
It continued: “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.”
An American Airlines statement to CNN said that its flight 1228 from Miami to Los Angeles “returned to the gate before takeoff due to a customer failing to follow crew member instructions and refusing to fasten their seatbelt (sic)”.
It added that “the customer was removed, and the flight re-departed at 10:54am local time”.