Police have released bodycam footage of an incident on an American Airlines flight involving football player Odell Beckham Jr. The NFL free agent was on a flight from Miami to Los Angeles in November when flight attendants, concerned that he was ill, asked him to leave the airplane before it took off, and he refused.
The bodycam footage from Miami-Dade Police Department shows officers approach Beckham Jr. in first class and ask if he can get up. After speaking to him briefly, one officer says “he looks good to me.”
An airline staff member said Beckham Jr. was unresponsive before the plane pushed away from the gate, they got him to wake up to put his seatbelt on prior to taking off but he “was still passed out.”
“Crew at this time don’t feel comfortable with him flying because they don’t know what’s going on with him,” the staff member says, adding that they can put him on the next flight.
A flight attendant then told the officers Beckham Jr. only had underwear on, but when they arrived he was wearing pants. She also says they had to shake him several times to ask Beckham Jr. to put his seatbelt on for boarding and that he told them he came from a club.
The officers, who recognize Beckham as an NFL player, say he may just be tired. “If you don’t want him to fly, that’s your decision that you guys are going to have to make,” an officer says to a flight attendant.
Flight attendants proceed to ask Beckham Jr. to leave the plane but he refuses. Officers also try to ask him to leave, and he says this has never happened to him on previous flights and it is “beyond embarrassing.”
Officers explain if he doesn’t get off they will have to deplane, and Beckham Jr. says that’s fine.
Odell Beckham Jr. argues with a man as passengers deplane. The NFL player was told if he did not exit the plane, they would have to deplane then escort him off.MIAMI-DAD POLICE DEPARTMENT
As passengers exit, Beckham Jr. gets in a verbal argument with one man. “I would never ever in my life get off the plane for you, not specifically you,” he says. “Maybe for everybody else I would get off the plane.”
“You’re going to wait 40 minutes, and I’m going get on a private plane home,” he says to the man, calling the man a “fat a**.” Before Beckham Jr. gets off the plane, he tells officers “do let me walk by him,” describing the man he argued with.
Beckham Jr. then gets on his cell phone, saying on the call that he stayed on the plane because other passengers urged him to get off.
Paramedics get on the plane ask if Beckham Jr. needs to get checked. “You fell asleep before the flight and they thought that may lead to an emergency in the air,” the paramedic tells him. The paramedic then checks his blood pressure and talks to him to calm him down before exiting the plane
Officers then escort him off the plane and through the airport. They then leave Beckham Jr. as he says someone is coming to pick him up.
After the bodycam footage was released, Beckham Jr. appeared to talk about the incident in a series of tweets, writing on Thursday: “Can’t address everything in this world, it’s exhausting. Errbody got an opinion on situations they weren’t involved in. All u can do is kno who u truly are. Purell only kills 99.9% of germs…there’s always gon be a lil left over.”
“I kno [sic] who I am. Period. All the rest and opinions really don’t matter to me. Have a blessed day and enjoy the board!” he wrote in another tweet.
Following the incident, American Airlines released the following statement, CBS Sports reported: “Flight 1228, with service 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. The customer was removed and the flight re-departed at 10:54 a.m. local time.”
CBS News has reached out to the Miami-Dade Police Department, Beckham Jr.’s lawyer and American Airlines for further comment and is awaiting response.
The number of unruly passenger incidents on airplanes increased during the pandemic. FAA Administrator Steve Dickson implemented a “zero-tolerance” policy in January 2021, when it became clear air travel was becoming unpredictable. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines both suspended In-flight alcohol sales at the beginning of the pandemic, and Dickson said the ban helped curb the number of unruly passenger incidents.
While the number of incidents began declining in 2021, the FAA said total fines for a variety of alleged bad behavior in 2021 topped more than $1 million. And while the number of incidents dropped again in 2022, they are still more than 10 times higher than in decades past.
In 1995, there were 146 reports of unruly airline passengers. By September 2022, the FAA had received 1,944 reports.