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Former NBA Player Sues Airline for Race-Baiting Experience

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 12/1/2018 Alex Temblador
United Airlines: PHOTO: United Airlines. (photo courtesy of Meinzahn/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus © Getty Images PHOTO: United Airlines. (photo courtesy of Meinzahn/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus

Retired NBA player Eric Murdock has filed a $10 million lawsuit against United Airlines for what he calls “race-baiting.”

The former New Jersey Nets point guard switched seats on a July 13th United Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Newark Airport to sit next to his son. Though one flight attendant approved the seat change, another flight attendant told him to move and berated him for moving seats.

Soon after, a white woman moved into that section but the flight attendant didn’t ask her to move but instead offered the passenger beverage service. When Murdock asked why the white woman didn’t have to move, the flight attendant said it was “none of his business.”

Brenda Williams, a black woman on the flight, stood up for Murdock, but the flight attendant told her to stay out of it. Williams was holding her phone during the exchange, and the flight attendant wrongly assumed she was recording their conversation and demanded Williams surrender her phone

According to the lawsuit, the flight attendant said, “Erase the video now, or give me your phone! It’s against the law to record me!”

After Murdock and Williams returned to their seats, the flight attendant arrived with refreshments and asked Murdock if he wanted a drink or if he was “going to boycott?” The lawsuit called this an “obvious race baiting.”

After de-boarding plane, Murdock and Williams were met and interviewed by four armed TSA agents but were soon allowed to grab their luggage and leave.

“In this divisive time people are emboldened to be the worst version of themselves,” Murdock, 50, said in a statement. “I never thought that I would personally be in this position, but neither will I back down. If I can use the fame and respect which I have gained to achieve social change I will.”

United spokeswoman, Erin Benson said, “At United, we proudly hold ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”

“We are looking into the allegations, and because we have not yet been served with the lawsuit, we are unable to provide further comment.”

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