Memphis Hustle players Marquis Teague and Trahson Burrell boarded a Christmas Eve flight from Dallas to Sioux Falls with the expectation of joining their teammates for a holiday meal. Instead, they found themselves getting booted off the plane after some miscommunication regarding blankets.
According to The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, Teague and Burrell were given blankets by two first-class passengers as they boarded the plane as a “kind gesture” as they headed back to their seats in coach. However, once in coach, a flight attendant accused them of stealing the blankets, leading to a verbal altercation.
The argument led the flight attendant to refuse to fly if they remained on the plane, so they, along with a Hustle assistant coach were removed and placed on a later flight causing them to miss the dinner. Hustle assistant Darnell Lazare tweeted in frustration about the incident, calling into question why the immediate reaction from the flight attendant was to accuse them of stealing the blankets.
American Airlines released an apology to the players and said they are reviewing the incident to figure out what happened.
“We apologize for what occurred on this flight,” American Airlines spokesman Joshua Freed told The Undefeated. “We take pride in bringing people together, and we know that on this flight we let some of our customers down. Our team at American, along with Envoy Air, is reviewing what happened and will be reaching out to [the two players and the assistant coach].”
Hustle head coach Glynn Cyprien told Spears he was proud of his players, as the Hustle won 131-115 over Sioux Falls on Monday, and voiced his disappointment in the entire incident.
“We are obviously disappointed the incident occurred and the way American Airlines chose to handle the situation,” Cyprien said. “Today our focus is on the players affected and our Christmas Day game. I am honored to stand by my players and compete on this special day.”
It’s an unfortunate situation and also a reminder of how vastly different NBA G-League travel is compared to NBA travel.