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American Airlines apologizes for accusing G Leaguers of theft

28 December 2017

An American Airlines representative responded to Cyprien's statement by saying: "In our culture, every interaction with a customer or team member should be grounded in respect".

As the two players walked toward their seats in the coach section of the plane, they were given blankets by people in first class. The flight attendant and the two players are all black.

That's because American Airlines kicked two NBA G League basketball players - Memphis Hustle guard Marquis Teague and his teammate, forward Trahson Burrell - off its flight 3756 from Dallas to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Christmas Eve after wrongfully accusing them of stealing a blanket.

An airline manager apologized to the players and they later flew first class to Sioux Falls, according to Airline spokesman Joshua Freed.

Darnell Lazare, listed as an assistant video coordinator with the Memphis Grizzlies organization, took to Twitter to voice his frustration over the theft accusation. "We take pride in bringing people together, and we know that on this flight we let some of our customers down".

The civil rights group NAACP issued a travel advisory in October, warning African-Americans about "a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines". "Our team at American, along with Envoy Air, is reviewing what happened, and will be reaching out to them". The flight was run by one of its regional carriers, Envoy Air.

An assistant coach tweeted later that the flight attended saw "2 young black athletes with blankets from first class, his 1st comment is "did you steal them"?

According to The Root, the flight attendant accused the National Basketball Association G League players of stealing first-class blankets that were not meant to be used in economy class.