NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. was removed by police from an aircraft before takeoff at Miami International Airport because he failed to respond to a request to fasten his seat belt and appeared to be unconscious, police and airline officials said Sunday.
“Fearing that Mr. Beckham was indeed ill and that his condition could worsen on a five-hour flight, (the crew) called the police and fire department,” Miami Dade Police Officer Luis Sierra said in a statement following the incident that occurred at 9:30 a.m.
“As they attempted to wake (Beckham) to buckle him up, he appeared to be in an intermittent state of consciousness,” the statement added.
American Airlines representative Alfredo Garduño confirmed that flight 1228 bound for Los Angeles had to return to the gate “because a passenger did not follow the crew’s instructions and refused to buckle up.”
The rest of the passengers re-boarded and the flight departed shortly thereafter for Los Angeles, Garduño said.
Garduño did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how many passengers were on board.
A Twitter message attributed to Beckham appeared to reference the incident saying, “I have never in my life experienced what happened today” and added with misspellings that he had “seen it all.”
Sierra did not immediately respond to a question about whether Beckham had been arrested or cited for a criminal offense.
The 30-year-old receiver, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, became a free agent since helping the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl in February. He caught a touchdown pass before suffering a torn knee ligament in a 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
It has been reported that Beckham could return to the league and the Dallas Cowboys have said they have an interest in signing him.
Other teams could pursue Beckham, who has been in the midst of controversy with the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.