An unidentified NFL player filed a lawsuit against United Airlines, saying another passenger sexually assaulted and harassed him during a February flight.  

According to the complaint filed, the unnamed player boarded a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, late Feb. 10.  A female passenger, described in the lawsuit as a “middle-aged, Caucasian female,” was seated next to him and began questioning why the player was wearing a facemask, which, per to the complaint, was to be proactive about the spread of COVID-19. Eventually, the woman allegedly began engaging in “verbal and/or physical conduct of a sexual nature” toward the NFL player, identified as “John Doe 1” from Essex County, New Jersey. Another plaintiff in the lawsuit is listed as “John Doe 2,” who does not play in the league and resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both are identified in the lawsuit as black males. 

The civil suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, seeking both punitive and statutory damages.  The suit alleges the flight attendants aboard the United flight did not act appropriately to deal with the woman’s alleged behavior. Per the complaint, the woman “admitted she was drinking and had taken pills” and was moved to another row when flight attendants arrived to the row.  

“The safety and well-being of our customers is always our top priority,” a United spokeswoman said.  The lawsuit did not state why it was filed anonymously. A message to the unnamed player’s lawyer was not immediately returned.

NFL player suing over sexual assault on plane


Editorial credit: Matheus Obst /