New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith was ordered off a flight in Los Angeles on Friday for failing to comply with a flight attendant’s request to stop talking on his cellphone, according to multiple reports.
Smith had boarded a Virgin America flight to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when the incident occurred. He left the plane before airport police arrived and spoke with him.
The first-year quarterback was seen in a picture published by Deadspin talking with the authorities and then leaving the airport in a limousine that arrived to pick him up, the New York Post reported.
Sgt. Belinda Nettles, the public information officer for Los Angeles International Airport, told ESPN that Smith was not arrested.
“The subject was questioned and released,” she said. “Police didn’t go on the aircraft. The subject already was at the gate.”
Smith contended that he was targeted because he is black. The Post reported that a male flight attendant yanked a cord connected to Smith’s headphones and threw them down when he failed to respond to the request to unplug them.
“We are aware of the report and researching the fact,” the Jets said in a statement. “We will have no comment at this time.”
Smith told TMX that he was not kicked off the flight.
“Don’t believe that man,” he said.