The attendant asked Eric Murdock if he was “going to boycott” receiving a beverage.
Collect every last cent, king 💪🏾 A former NBA player is suing United Airlines for $10 million after claiming he was ‘race-baited’ by a flight attendant https://t.co/jnx99RRcGJ pic.twitter.com/yr6lXIBehu
— Blavity News (@Blavity) December 5, 2018
Murdock was aboard a July 23 flight from Las Vegas to New Jersey when he asked a white flight attendant to switch to a seat in the emergency exit row. Murdock was hoping to sit near his son with whom he’d been traveling with.
The flight attendant informed Murdock that the emergency row hosted premium-price seats—without specifying the price—and would not allow him to switch. When another passenger began to take the said seat, they in-turn offered to change with Murdock.
After agreeing, the attendant instructed the former Heat player back to his seat. She claimed the emergency row needed to remain empty altogether for an undisclosed reason.
About thirty minutes later, the attendant allowed a white woman to take the same seat Murdock wanted. Another passenger Brenda Williams, who is also black, witnessed the ordeal. Williams questioned the attendant’s motives and was allegedly met with screams by the attendant. The attendant told Williams to mind her business and attempted to take her phone after Williams tried to film the incident.
Things got worse when the attendant approached Murdock with drinks. USA Today reports that she asked Murdock if he was “going to boycott” receiving a beverage.
Upon landing, airport security escorted both Murdock and Williams off the plane. TSA guards questioned and released the two though they were not charged.
Williams, who didn’t know Murdock prior to the incident is now a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit.
United Airlines released a statement stating:
“At United, we proudly hold ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”
Murdock played nine NBA seasons after playing in college at Providence. He spent time with the Bucks, Jazz, Heat, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Nets and Clippers from 1991 through 2000.