American Airlines has apologized to two members of the Memphis Grizzlies’ NBA G League affiliate who were kicked off a plane in Dallas after a flight attendant wrongfully accused them of stealing blankets. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

American sorry for accusing NBA G League players of theft

DALLAS — American Airlines has apologized to two members of the Memphis Grizzlies’ NBA G League affiliate who were kicked off a plane in Dallas after a flight attendant wrongfully accused them of stealing blankets.

Airline spokesman Joshua Freed said Tuesday that Memphis Hustle guard Marquis Teague and forward Trahson Burrell boarded the Sunday flight from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The flight was operated by Envoy Air.

Two first-class passengers gave the players their blankets as they headed to their seats in coach. But a flight attendant accused them of theft and the players were asked to leave the plane following an argument.

An airline manager apologized to the players and they later flew first class to Sioux Falls, Freed said.

“We take pride in bringing people together, and we know that on this flight we let some of our customers down,” Freed said. “Our team at American, along with Envoy Air, is reviewing what happened, and will be reaching out to them.”

Hustle assistant coach Darnell Lazare said in a tweet that the flight attendant saw two “young black athletes” with blankets from first class and that his first comment was “did you steal them?”

“How about you teach people to get the facts first before jumping to conclusions,” Lazare tweeted Sunday. Both players and the flight attendant are black.

Sunday’s incident comes after American CEO Doug Parker told employees last month that American Airlines will implement so-called implicit-bias training.

The NAACP issued a “travel advisory” in October warning African-Americans they could face discrimination when flying on American. The alert followed several high-profile incidents including one involving an organizer of the Women’s March who was booted from a flight after a dispute over her seat.

American pledged to hire an outside firm to review its diversity in hiring and promotion, train all 120,000 employees to counteract implicit bias, create a special team to review passengers’ discrimination complaints, and improve resolution of employee complaints about bias.

The Memphis Hustle is in the G League, which is the NBA’s minor league and was formerly known as the NBA Development League.

Teague played a year at the University of Kentucky before being drafted in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. Burrell played two seasons at the University of Memphis.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Families displaced after Red Deer fire Sunday

Firefighters were still on scene fighting hot spots around 2 p.m. Sunday… Continue reading

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

In its place is employment insurance, which the government says the majority of people will go on

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sept. 27

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00… Continue reading

WE Charity controversy prompts examination of group’s overseas footprint

On Sept. 9, WE Charity said it would wind down its Canadian operations

Two people dead after plane flying from Rocky Mountain House crashes

The Transportation Safety Board will be investigating

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Nearly 1M who died of COVID-19 also illuminated treatment

The nearly 1 million people around the world who have lost their… Continue reading

Toronto health officer closes 3 restaurants as result of COVID contact tracing

Toronto’s top public health official has ordered the closure of three downtown… Continue reading

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

CALGARY — Canadian ski resort operators planning for a season that begins… Continue reading

Tenille Townes, Dean Brody and Brett Kissel top nominees at tonight’s CCMA Awards

OTTAWA — Tenille Townes could be lined up for some major wins… Continue reading

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

TERRACE, B.C. — Health care in the era of COVID-19 took centre… Continue reading

Watchdog to investigate fatal Winnipeg crash that sent two kids to hospital

Winnipeg police say a woman has died and five others — including… Continue reading

The ‘relentless underdog’: Green Leader Sonia Furstenau ready for uphill battle

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau was driving Monday when she turned on the… Continue reading

Mi’kmaq power, inside and beyond Ottawa, stronger than in past fishery battles

HALIFAX — When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news… Continue reading

Most Read