American Airlines Apologizes After Accusing Pro-Basketball Players of Theft

Report: Memphis Hustle players kicked off plane after false theft accusation

Marquis Teague, the younger brother Wolves guard Jeff Teague, formerly played for the Bulls and Nets.

American Airlines on Wednesday apologized to a pair of basketball players on the Memphis Grizzlies' developmental league affiliate who were wrongfully accused of stealing blankets and then kicked off a flight.

Reportedly, the flight attendant said he wouldn't fly unless Teague and Burrell were off the plane.

The pilot and passengers confirmed to Cyprien that a couple seated in first class gave Teague and Burrell blankets as they walked to the coach cabin.

Per that report, the players were given blankets from two first-class passengers. But a black flight attendant accused them of theft and forced them off the plane. However, by that time, the players had missed their team's Christmas dinner.

American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker told employees last month that the company will implement implicit-bias training.

The flight was operated by Envoy Air, a subsidiary of American Airlines, and both Teague and Burrell were given first class tickets and flown to their final destination later in the day, before going on to help Memphis Hustle defeat Sioux Falls Skyforce 131-115 on Christmas Day.

The NAACP issued a "travel advisory" in October warning African-Americans they could face discrimination when flying on American.

An airline rep says AA has apologized to the players - and notes they boarded a later flight, where they both sat in first class. "We take pride in bringing people together, and we know that on this flight we let some of our customers down", said American Airlines spokesman Joshua Freed, who also confirmed that the incident is being reviewed internally.

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