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NY Jets QB Geno Smith is claiming racial profiling after being kicked off of his Virgin America flight yesterday. Sources say Smith was asked three times to get off of his cell phone by flight crew and refused. That's when LAX Port Authority cops were called.
Via NY Daily News
Geno Smith is finding himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons this month.
“The flight crew asked him to get off his cellphone three times, but he didn’t comply,” the source said, and Virgin America didn’t allow him to reschedule.
“He (Smith) said he didn’t know why he was kicked off the flight,” the source said. “He said it was because he was black. Virgin Airlines refused to re-book him because he was being disruptive.”
TMZ filmed Smith at the airport denying any incident. When asked about it, Smith said, “Don’t believe that.” The TMZ reporter mentioned that the QB seemed calm, to which Smith responded, “Always.”
Deadspin first reported Friday that Smith was apparently escorted off a Virgin America flight and out of LAX by police after what appeared to be a verbal altercation.
This account differs sharply from that of a source close to Smith, who told The News that a flight attendant had ripped off the quarterback’s headphones, initiating the conflict.
Smith decided to get off the plane of his own accord, the source said. Smith was on a flight to Fort Lauderdale, not Las Vegas as Deadspin had reported, the source added.
When asked if there was an incident involving Smith, Sergeant Belinda Nettles with Los Angeles World Airports police said, “I can’t confirm any names or anything because there were no arrests made. But we did respond to a call, and the subject involved was questioned and released.
“We responded to an incident. When we arrived, the person was already off the aircraft,” Nettles added.
A Jets spokesperson said, “We are aware of the report and are researching the facts. We will have no comment at this time.”
Numerous accounts rose up on the Internet and Twitter in the immediate aftermath. Twitter user @markyOso Tweeted his version of events, saying, “I’m at LAX and just saw a Smith fiasco yelling at Virgin America workers. Escorted by cops LOL.”
Another source told Deadspin,“We were waiting for our flight at LAX to Vegas and were put on standby on Virgin American just like Geno. We were told to get seat assignment at 2:40. Apparently Geno was not on board with that. My friend walked over to discuss seat assignment and Geno was saying to airline ticket agents, ‘F--- that, this is bull----t. Why the f--- do I have to wait until 2:40.’ He would not let it go. He continued to curse and be loud for about five minutes. Police were called. They talked for a few minutes and then three officers escorted him out of the terminal.”
Looks like a lot of different/conflicting accounts of what happened. I'm probably going to stick with those who don't have PR teams working behind them.