We had a good laugh a few months ago when Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Byrant was reportedly kicked out of a mall for refusing to get his pants off the ground, but this takes things to a whole new level.
University of New Mexico football player Deshon Marman was arrested on a US Airways flight at San Francisco International Airport after an incident that stemmed from Marman being asked to pull up his pants.
You can read the story here, but basically Marman was asked to pull his pants up and he claimed that he didn’t have to because he had bought a ticket. The situation escalated and the captain was alerted. Marman apparently began to make a scene and refused to comply with the flight attendant instructions, so the captain made a citizens arrest while the police were on their way to the plane.
There are a couple things wrong with this story. First off, I hate seeing underwear as much as the next person, so I understand the crewmember requests.
But rather than making a scene, why not just let the guy take his seat and be done with the whole thing? Then you only have to worry about people seeing his underwear when he gets up to go to the bathroom. Most people are asleep 15 minutes into the flight anyway.
US Airways spokespeople have already said that there’s no specific dress code on flights, and that they just “ask our passengers to dress in an appropriate manner to ensure the safety and comfort of all our passengers.” It seems to me that the flight attendants just made the problems worse by insisting that Marman pull up his pants, and it wouldn’t have affected anybody’s safety and comfort if he was simply allowed to take his seat.
Second, and most intriguing, is the fact that the reason Marman was in San Francisco because he had attended the funeral of a close personal friend.
Obviously the flight attendants didn’t know it, but Marman was clearly in a highly emotional state and the last thing on his mind was whether his pants were hanging at an appropriate level.
It reminds me of a story from Joe Posnanski‘s tremendous book about Buck O’Neil, The Soul of Baseball. I don’t remember the story verbatim, but it basically goes like this:
Posnanski and O’Neil are at a baseball game and a foul ball is hit into the stands. A little kid grabs it and begins to celebrate before a middle-aged man in a suit wrestles it away from him and takes it for himself. Posnanski is obviously disgusted, as is everyone else in the section, and asks Buck O’Neil what he thinks about it.
O’Neil looks at him and says, “How do you know that man’s son isn’t very sick in a hospital somewhere. And how do you know that his dying son didn’t tell his father, ‘Dad, the only thing I want is for you to bring home a foul ball from the game tonight.’ Maybe that’s why he wanted it so badly.”
Posnanski was silenced, and he marveled that someone could witness such a seemingly horrible moment and try to see it from a different perspective.
If the flight attendants had given Marman the benefit of the doubt and stopped to think, “maybe this kid is not only upset because we’re asking him to pull up his pants,” the entire incident could have been avoided.
*I purposely left the race card out of this, but Marman is black and you have to ask yourself whether the same thing would have happened if he was white. I’m not saying it would have been different, but you have to ask.