BALTIMORE, MD (December 27, 2017) – The NAACP, the nation’s premier civil rights organization, issued the following statement regarding the removal of two Memphis Hustle basketball players and their coach from an American Airlines flight on December 23, 2017.
“The NAACP is monitoring the latest incident on American Airlines: a flight attendant on board an American Airlines flight, operated by Envoy and flying from Dallas/Fort Worth to Sioux Fall, SD, accused two minor league basketball players of stealing blankets from first class. The players explained that they had received the blankets from generous first class passengers, but an argument ensued, and they and their coach were ultimately removed from the flight.
“While the NAACP is troubled by the confrontation, we acknowledge American Airlines’ swift attention to the incident. American Airlines officials immediately rebooked and upgraded the players and their coach to first class on the next flight and began a full investigation.
“American Airlines’ responsiveness to the incident reflects the commitments made in our November 30 meeting with the company’s leadership. At the urging of the NAACP and several civil rights organizations, American Airlines agreed to implement four critical changes to the company’s internal processes for addressing claims of racism and discrimination.
“As we continue to monitor this incident and others on board American Airlines, the NAACP will continue its travel advisory until sufficient progress toward the goals are met and will continue to accept reports regarding alleged discrimination on its website.”