NFL Player: I Was Sexually Assaulted on a United Flight

2 men say attendants ignored their complaints
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2020 5:15 PM CDT
NFL Player: I Was Sexually Assaulted on a United Flight
United Airlines commercial jets sit at a gate at Terminal C of Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, NJ.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

An NFL player and a second man say they were sexually harassed and assaulted during a late-night flight—and United Airlines flight attendants failed to take their complaints seriously. In a lawsuit filed Monday, the player, identified only as John Doe 1, says he was on a flight from Los Angeles to New Jersey in February with his friend, "John Doe 2," when they were harassed and groped by a female passenger, NBC News reports. They say she appeared "disheveled and unbalanced" and immediately began hitting John Doe 1's arm and hassling him over a face mask he wore. The lawsuit says her behavior "intensified" as she groped his knees and thighs, took prescription pills, and appeared intoxicated.

Fearing two social stigmas—being seen as a male victim, and being a young black man in America—John Doe 1 "patiently pleaded for the assailant to stop and removed her hand," the lawsuit states. After the men made three complaints to flight attendants, the woman received a verbal warning, but went on to pull the player's mask off and and grab his penis, according to the lawsuit. When he jumped up to find a flight attendant, the woman allegedly moved over and groped John Doe 2, who was in the aisle seat. She was finally moved to a row with no other passengers, the lawsuit says, per ESPN. A United spokesperson said that because "litigation is now pending, we're unable to provide further comment." (Read more United Airlines stories.)

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