An NFL player is suing United Airlines following a February incident on a red-eye flight. He alleges he was sexually assaulted and harassed multiple times by a woman. The player has wished to remain anonymous, per his lawyers. According to the Bleacher Report, the lawsuit states United Airlines "failed to properly respond" during the flight.
The incident allegedly occurred on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey. The player claims that a female passenger made "multiple unwanted sexual advances" towards him. She also allegedly questioned the mask on the player's face. He clarified that this was a precaution due to COVID-19 concerns.
Breaking: A NFL player is suing @United Airlines, alleging that he was sexually assaulted & harassed multiple times by a woman on a recent flight. The lawsuit states United Airlines failed to properly respond during the flight, and failed to cooperate with authorities. pic.twitter.com/oS4DJZlc7V— Master (@MasterTes) May 20, 2020
During the flight, the female allegedly ripped off his face mask and grabbed his penis. The player also claims that the female was intoxicated and taking prescription pills. According to Sports Illustrated, the flight attendants did not move the female until the unidentified player made a fourth complaint.
In the lawsuit, the player is identified as "John Doe 1" while another man in the row is identified as "John Doe 2." This second man made similar claims. The lawsuit describes both men as African American and the woman as a "middle-aged Caucasian female." The player is seeking "compensatory and punitive damages" after the incident.
Darren Darwish and Benji Azizian, the player's lawyers, sent Tesfatsion a statement about the incident. They say that the goal of the lawsuit is to "shine a light on how assaults can, and are, being made on men, and not just women." They also say that the incidents could have been prevented.
"We bring this lawsuit with the hope that it will be one of the last of its kind," the statement read. "Our wish would be that in the future no passengers' multiple warnings and complaints to flight attendants, the onboard authority figures, will go unheaded until it's too late and the damage has been done. This matter is unfortunately based on several instances of assault — physical, sexual, and verbal — on a "red-eye" United Airlines, Inc. flight. Instances that could have been prevented, if not the harm reduced, had United's personnel simply taken action sooner."
The statement continued to say that United has an "obligation" to keep its passengers safe. The lawyers say that this is an issue of accountability and that those with a duty to others should be "held accountable for their failures." They will not be revealing the player's identity and ask for privacy during litigation.