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

Horrors of the Holocaust are remembered by Red Deerians

Shirley Rimer’s parents lost their entire families to the camps

Arlene Dickinson from Dragons’ Den in Red Deer: reinvent yourself through recession

Arlene Dickinson still remembers the time she got a strawberry milkshake dumped… Continue reading

Calgary sport school that grooms Olympic champions threatened with shutdown

CALGARY — The National Sport School in Calgary that produces Olympic and… Continue reading

Country music fans enjoy free concert at Red Deer mall, ahead of ACMA awards

Fans like to get up close and personal and that’s exactly what… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 1 A Jump Rope Competition will be held at the Abbey… Continue reading

Calgary sport school that grooms Olympic champions threatened with shutdown

CALGARY — The National Sport School in Calgary that produces Olympic and… Continue reading

Quebec to seek consensus on offering medical aid in dying to mentally ill

MONTREAL — Quebec on Monday walked back a plan to offer medical… Continue reading

GOP defends Trump as Bolton book adds pressure for witnesses

WASHINGTON — Senators faced mounting pressure Monday to summon John Bolton to… Continue reading

Venezuelan opposition leader meets Champagne, Trudeau as part of world tour

OTTAWA — Canada wants to “reinvigorate” the effort to bring democracy to… Continue reading

Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette seeks reduced sentence

QUEBEC — A lawyer representing convicted Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette… Continue reading

Quebec police find bodies of two of four missing French snowmobilers

ST-HENRI-DE-TAILLON, Que. — A Quebec provincial police search-and-rescue team retrieved the bodies… Continue reading

Leaders pay tribute, MPs call for justice for Canadians who died on Flight PS752

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has paid tribute in the House… Continue reading

Most Read