Two unidentified NFL players have filed a lawsuit against United Airlines claiming they were sexually assaulted during a flight from Los Angeles, California, to Newark, New Jersey, in February.
The two players said that a female passenger groped them, and the flight crew failed to address the situation.
The incident began as soon as the two players boarded the plane. One of the players helped the woman put her bag in the overhead bin before taking his seat. The woman, who was sitting in the window seat, told the other player, identified in court documents as John Doe 1, he was "frightening" and asked if he could move to the front of the plane because she thought he was sick since he was wearing a face mask.
John Doe 1 informed her that he was not sick and was wearing the face mask because of the coronavirus pandemic. The woman then started groping his thighs as he quietly asked her to stop.
"Fearful of the perception of being a male victim and the racial stigma of being a young African American male, John Doe 1 patiently pleaded for assailant to stop and removed her hand," the suit says.
The other player, John Doe 2, who was sitting in the aisle seat, complained to a member of the flight crew two times, but no action was taken. It wasn't until John Doe 1 spoke with another flight attendant, that the woman received a verbal warning.
That didn't stop the woman, who both players accused of being intoxicated and under the influence of drugs, as she started to caress his lap and chest. At one point, she removed his face mask. When he got up to complain again, the woman moved into the middle seat and started groping John Doe 2.
At that point, the flight crew moved the woman to another seat, but she had to be put in a row by herself because she continued to harass other passengers.
The players filed the lawsuit after United Airlines refused to provide the identity of the woman they accused of sexually assaulting them.
"This matter is about accountability; not just from United but the assailant as well," an attorney for the players said. "Those with a duty to others should be held accountable for their failures to uphold their responsibilities. Those who report assaults should not be ignored, but believed, their claims investigated, and appropriate action taken where warranted."