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23 Dec, 2021 10:48

Police met NBA legend off flight over mask saga following Fauci warning – report

Police met NBA legend off flight over mask saga following Fauci warning – report

Authorities reportedly spoke to five-time NBA champion Dennis Rodman after he got off a flight – because he had allegedly taken a mask off repeatedly while claiming that he was struggling to breathe.

Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls legend Rodman is said to have been traveling in first class on a commercial flight between Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale when the alleged incident occurred.

The 50-year-old agreed with staff who told him to keep his mask on, then repeatedly pulled it down while explaining that it was causing him difficulties, according to TMZ.

The outlet claims that representatives from a local Sheriff's Office spoke to Rodman after the flight landed, letting the former Defensive Player of the Year leave without any further action after he was "co-operative", the report said.

US president Joe Biden's administration extended a requirement for travelers to wear masks while in transit and in airports and other transportation hubs earlier this month.

The rule will remain in place until at least March because of concerns over the Omicron variant.

"If you break the rules, be prepared to pay," Biden said in a White House address in September, specifically speaking about purported mistreatment of transport staff.

"And by the way, show some respect. The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong. It's ugly."

Civil penalties for not wearing masks on public transport in the US range from $500 to $3,000.

The highest fines are given to offenders who are found to have repeatedly broken the rule.

Rodman's alleged experience would have come within hours of reports that Dr Anthony Fauci, president Biden's medical advisor, warning the public about wearing masks while traveling.

"Clearly, when you travel, there is always a risk of increase infection that just goes with respiratory illnesses,” Fauci told ABC, via Forbes.

"But if people need to travel and want to travel for the obvious family reasons during this holiday season, and if you're vaccinated and you're boosted and you take care when you go into congregate settings like airports to make sure you continually wear your mask, you should be okay."

Fauci appeared to suggest that there would never be a time when people would not be required to wear masks on planes.

"I think when you're dealing with a closed space, even though the filtration is good, that you want to go that extra step when you have people – you know, you get a flight from Washington to San Francisco, it’s well over a five-hour flight," he was quoted as saying.

"Even though you have a good filtration system, I still believe that masks are a prudent thing to do, and we should be doing it.”