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fly the unfriendly skies

American Airlines apologizes after accusing pro basketball players of stealing blankets

Fresh off of the NAACP warning black travelers against flying American Airlines, the company is apologizing for kicking two black Memphis Hustle players off a flight from Dallas to Sioux Falls Sunday night.

The Memphis Hustle is an NBA G League team. On their way to the coach section of the plane, guard Marquis Teague and forward Trahson Burrell were given blankets by two passengers in first class, The Associated Press reports. A black flight attendant accused them of stealing the blankets, and the men were forced off the plane. Hustle assistant coach Darnell Lazare tweeted the flight attendant saw "young black athletes" with the blankets and the first comment was, "Did you steal them?" "How about you teach people to get the facts first before jumping to conclusions," Lazare said.

American Airlines spokesman Joshua Freed said "we let some of our customers down," and AA and Envoy Air, which operated the flight, are "reviewing what happened" and will be in touch with Teague and Burrell, who later flew to Sioux Falls in first class. In October, the NAACP announced it had heard about several "disturbing incidents" involving American Airlines and black passengers, and warned travelers to "exercise caution" while on an AA flight.