Shane McInerney, an Irish football coach likely to face a 20 years jail term for alleged “unruly behavior” on a plane, including exposing himself to cabin crew in a quarrel over food.
Shane McInerney, 29, is accused of causing “several disruptions” on a Delta Airlines aircraft from Dublin to New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport.
McInerney played professional soccer for Dandenong Thunder SC in Australia and FC Linköping City in Sweden, according to his social media sites.
He played for Peru State College’s American football team last year, making nine of nine field goals.
On the eight-hour voyage that began on January 7, McInerney, from Galway, is also accused of repeatedly refusing to wear a face mask and throwing a can that struck another passenger.
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He is claimed to have gotten out of his seat to complain about the food before removing his pants and showing his buttocks to an attendant and other passengers around.
The captain took a break about two hours into the trans-Atlantic flight and returned to the cabin to speak with McInerney and calm him down.
The pilot attempted to communicate with McInerney, who is claimed to have told him not to touch him.
According to the lawsuit, McInerney removed his own cap twice during the talk and placed it on the pilot’s head before removing it again. ‘Don’t touch me,’ he allegedly yelled, raising his fist to the pilot’s face.
McInerney is also accused of kicking the person in front of him in the seat, much to the guy’s annoyance.
McInerney is also accused of refusing to stay in his seat during the plane’s descent to JFK, opting to stand in the aisle instead.
After the plane landed, he was apprehended.
“Despite being urged hundreds of times by flight crew employees, the defendant continually refused to use a face mask during the approximately eight-hour journey,” according to legal papers filed in New York.
He was accused with interfering with a flight crew, which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
McInerney describes himself as a sportsperson, former professional football player, coach, and trained personal trainer on his Instagram profile.
According to reports, he was travelling to the United States to teach football at a school in Daytona Beach, Florida.
“Great to be back in the sunshine state,” he captioned a photo of himself at Daytona Beach earlier this week.
“I’m grateful to be able to name this place my home for the next few months.”
Last Monday, McInerney appeared in court and was granted bail.
His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
Delta stated in a statement that “nothing is more important than the safety of our workers and our customers” and that it “has zero tolerance for disorderly behavior at our airports and aboard our aircraft.”
Last year, US airlines reported more than 5,000 occurrences of “unruly passenger behavior,” with 3,600 of those involving passengers who refused to wear face masks.