Donna Doyle, the mother of “baggy pants” arrestee Deshon Marman, appeared today with members of the NAACP at the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco. Doyle and Amos Brown, president of the NAACP’s San Francisco chapter, spoke about the case at a press conference.
Doyle put the blame for the incident on US Airways, the airline that her 20-year-old son, a University of New Mexico football player, was removed from in a conflict over his pants. The pants, which Marman says were pajamas, were allegedly hanging low enough to expose his underwear. Marman was arrested on suspicion of battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, and trespassing, but the San Mateo County DA is still deciding whether to charge him.
Brown said that Marman was a victim of racial profiling and called for the airline to put its employees through sensitivity training.
Both Doyle and Brown cited the cross-dressing frequent US Airways flyer who has attracted attention over the past few days as evidence of a double standard by the airline.
Here is audio of some of Brown and Doyle’s comments, followed by an edited transcript. A spokesman for US Airways told Peter Jon Shuler, “we don’t have a statement yet.”
Amos Brown, head of San Francisco NAACP chapter
I think that that was excessive use of authority and some officers, some officials go over board in being excessive so that either way, the basic point we’re making, they shouldn’t have made an issue over it. If they didn’t make an issue over (the man who flies US Airways in exposed panties). And you don’t single people out, and that’s what it ends up being. He was singled out. This man here should have been singled out if you’re going to be consistent to be dealt with.
They initiated the atmosphere, they created the drama, and then they didn’t assume responsibility for the drama they created. You don’t go around subjectively dealing with people that way. That’s where racism comes in. Any time you deal with people in a manner before getting to know them. Nothing was done to talk to this yong man, to get to know him.
The main thing that happened here was you had a ticket agent who didn’t like the way he looked, and because she didn’t like the way he looked, she went after him. He hadn’t done anything, he hadn’t touched anybody, he hadn’t cursed anybody out. He hadn’t said a word. She just didn’t like the way he looked. So it was a question of walking while black, with some pants down.
Donna Doyle, mother of Deshon Marman
You know I said I wasn’t going to say anything. But the whole thing began with the ticket agent, and like Reverend Brown stated, it started with the ticket agent not liking the way my son looked. When it went to the stewardess and the flight attendant, the flight attendant I feel, should have defused it… If he did have his underwear showing, you no longer saw them because his behind was in the seat. So at that point he became no longer a threat to anyone, because his butt was down.
The captain took it upon himself to come down the aisle out of his cabin to address the matter, not to defuse it, to address it and escalate. He escalated this drama. If you listen to the young man’s tape that recorded it, my son stated I don’t know how many times, “no sir, I’m sitting sir. Sir I didn’t do anything. Sir I’m like everyone else.” “No you’re not like everyone else.” Well what does he mean? I don’t’ know. What does he mean you’re not like everyone else?
So I truly feel had the pilot defused it, we wouldn’t be here today. He added to all of this. There was a sheriff there that stated that Deshon was not disrespectful. He wasn’t defiant in any way.
The saggy pants itself — I’m a mother of four sons, I don’t approve of it. They’re boys, it’s a trend. But these clothes are marketed. These people are making big money off these children. And then you turn around and not only criminalize the African American with these clothes, but you have to remember, we’re not the only ones who wear them. You have the Asians that wear them, you have the white boys that wear them, you have the Latinos and the rest of them that wear them. But you don’t go after these children like you’ve gone after our children. And that needs to stop. You don’t judge a book by its cover and that’s what they did. They judged my son by his attire of what he wore and that was unacceptable.
Here, Donna Doyle says she doesn’t condone her son’s attire, but that it’s his choice. She also implies that US Airways’ allowing the cross-dressing passenger to fly is an example of a double-standard by the airline.
Vic Lee of KGO also has a report on the event: