Marman.jpgUpdate 6/17: A video has emerged showing a portion of the incident.

What started as a dispute over an airline passenger’s fashion sense, ended with a promising, young football star sitting in jail amid bitter accusations of racism.

Deshon Marman, a Bayview native currently attending the University of New Mexico on a football scholarship, was in town for the funeral of David Henderson. Henderson was a close friend of Marman’s and the two played together first at Lincoln High School and then for two years at City College of San Francisco.

Henderson, a standout player since his time at Lincoln, was fatally shot near his home in the Bayview late last month. Both Marman and Henderson dreamed of one day making it into the NFL. Henderson was playing for the minor league Pacifica Islanders at the time of his death and was in the process of trying out for the San Jose SaberCats arena football team.

On his way back to school after Henderson’s funeral, Marman was boarding the Wednesday morning U.S. Airways flight to Albuquerque from SFO when the cut of his pants offended the sensibilities of a flight attendant. “She could see the outline of his private area,” police Sgt. Michael Rodriguez relayed to reporters.

The attendant asked Marman to pull up his pants and, still reeling from his friend’s death, Marman refused. The stewardess complained to the captain, who threatened to throw Marman off the plane and place him under citizens arrest if he didn’t comply. Before the captain could make good on his threat, the police arrived. Officers cuffed Marman and promptly carted him off to jail.

While U.S. Airways doesn’t have a specific dress code, it’s airline policy that passengers follow any instructions given by the flight crew.

“He was not threatening anybody directly,” said Rodriguez. “But being on board an aircraft and being disruptive to the…crew interferes with their duties and that could be a safety factor.”

Marman’s mother, Donna Doyle, attests that safety had nothing to do with her son being singled out.

“He was attacked for three reasons,” said Doyle, “his clothing, his skin, and his hair.”

Marman, who is African American, is currently being held at San Mateo County jail pending charges of trespassing, battery and resisting arrest.

Doyle worries that these charges could seriously jeopardize the big league dreams her son shared with his late friend. “With these types of charges, my baby could lose his scholarship,” she said.

Widespread concerns about people, largely young and largely African American, in baggy pants are neither new, nor are they confined to the Bay Area. A bill signed last month by Florida Governor Rick Scott instituted a statewide ban on wearing excessively baggy pants in schools. Students showing an inappropriate amount of boxer shorts (or, heaven forbid, partially exposed buttocks) could face suspension.

Voters in the Florida town of Riviera Beach passed a blanket ban on baggy pants in 2008. However a judge struck down the law as unconstitutional later that year.

Louisiana similarly attempted to outlaw the pants in 2004. This attempt was unsuccessful as the bill never made it out of the state legislature.

These laws, which attempt to widen the police’s jurisdiction into the realm of fashion, are often said to be born out of a desire to indirectly crack down on gang activity. Ever since the trend of wearing extremely baggy pants arose in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it has seen opposition from some, largely conservative, quarters due to its perceived connection to drugs and violence.

The style is said to have originated in prisons where inmates are often given ill-fitting clothes and have little access to belts, which have the potential of being turned into weapons or used in suicide attempts. The fashion crossed over from the penitentiary into hip hop culture and finally into the mainstream–where its found its most forceful opposition.

Marman is just the latest victim in the pushback against baggy pants. He has a hearing scheduled for sometime today and is currently being held on $11,000 bail.

Photo of Deshon Marman ABC7

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  • jackbarry99

    i don’t think this was racism…
    I think that if the offender was an old white guy, they would have made him wear his pants at his waist..

    Wearing them as “loaders” , apart from calling attention to the guys butt and genitals… is a safety hazard and a potential way to conceal stuff….

    The standards apply across the board.

    jb

  • jackbarry99

    i don’t think this was racism…
    I think that if the offender was an old white guy, they would have made him wear his pants at his waist..

    Wearing them as “loaders” , apart from calling attention to the guys butt and genitals… is a safety hazard and a potential way to conceal stuff….

    The standards apply across the board.

    jb

  • Erik

    I think the real racism is coming from the people implying that wearing pants below your ass is a uniquely black thing.

  • Erik

    I think the real racism is coming from the people implying that wearing pants below your ass is a uniquely black thing.

  • Soonerdiver

    “Marman is just the latest victim in the pushback against baggy pants…” he is a victim because he wanted to be a victim! Simply put he needed to obey the flightcrew, like it or not there was nothing racist in the demand! The race question appears to have been started by his mother and yes he should receive some sort of disciplinary action by the University.

    But then let’s look at the NFL… hell this guy will fit right in! The bunch are overpaid premadonnas who expect everyone to bow to them.

    Hopefully this young man will face a judge who has the backbone to enforce a suitable punishment and not just fold like an old dish rag.

  • Soonerdiver

    “Marman is just the latest victim in the pushback against baggy pants…” he is a victim because he wanted to be a victim! Simply put he needed to obey the flightcrew, like it or not there was nothing racist in the demand! The race question appears to have been started by his mother and yes he should receive some sort of disciplinary action by the University.

    But then let’s look at the NFL… hell this guy will fit right in! The bunch are overpaid premadonnas who expect everyone to bow to them.

    Hopefully this young man will face a judge who has the backbone to enforce a suitable punishment and not just fold like an old dish rag.

  • LibertyHiller

    Meh, airlines have policies that require “appropriate attire.” Plus, FAA regs require that passengers follow the orders of flight crew. Furthermore, the serious charge here isn’t the trespassing, or even the fashion crime; it’s striking the police officer. For bonus points, add to that the outstanding warrant from Santa Clara County, and you’ve lost any reason to expect sympathy from others.

  • LibertyHiller

    Meh, airlines have policies that require “appropriate attire.” Plus, FAA regs require that passengers follow the orders of flight crew. Furthermore, the serious charge here isn’t the trespassing, or even the fashion crime; it’s striking the police officer. For bonus points, add to that the outstanding warrant from Santa Clara County, and you’ve lost any reason to expect sympathy from others.

  • MCM

    This article needs to be corrected.

    The young man was NOT arrested for wearing baggy pants. He was arrested for throwing the gate attendant against the plate glass window, assaulting a flight attendant and refusing to respond to both safety and security officers.

    He was asked several times to hike up his pants because he couldn’t walk without holding them up so the airlines representative reasonably saw the attire as an impediment to safe entry and emergency exit.

    Safety, not racism or clothes-ism, was the issue. That the young man escalated the event to violence is key to the incident.

  • MCM

    This article needs to be corrected.

    The young man was NOT arrested for wearing baggy pants. He was arrested for throwing the gate attendant against the plate glass window, assaulting a flight attendant and refusing to respond to both safety and security officers.

    He was asked several times to hike up his pants because he couldn’t walk without holding them up so the airlines representative reasonably saw the attire as an impediment to safe entry and emergency exit.

    Safety, not racism or clothes-ism, was the issue. That the young man escalated the event to violence is key to the incident.

  • Mario

    this is so so stupid….any women can freely travel on any airline with half her boobs hanging out and,looking as though she is toothpaste squezzed into her clothes and she is quite acceptable and ….in fact this is quite normal and all the males just look and lust.

    this may or may not be racial,but for sure its discrimination ,would this captain remove some one from a flight for wearing a kilt,or a sari,or anything that this captain considers outside his standards .

    and for sure this young man would react,just as anyone else would to being singled out and told to get of the plane,and now he is being arrested because he reacted,how disgusting,this airline should train there staff to be more open to the real world and its fads and style of dressing,lets hope the judge is not going to play fashion god as well.

    I must add that many years ago my wife was a meter maid on the Gold Coast in Australia and here working uniform was a gold bikini,which she wore on many flights when a group of them flew around to promote the city,and I could imagine there reaction if they were told to pull your pants up,

  • Mario

    this is so so stupid….any women can freely travel on any airline with half her boobs hanging out and,looking as though she is toothpaste squezzed into her clothes and she is quite acceptable and ….in fact this is quite normal and all the males just look and lust.

    this may or may not be racial,but for sure its discrimination ,would this captain remove some one from a flight for wearing a kilt,or a sari,or anything that this captain considers outside his standards .

    and for sure this young man would react,just as anyone else would to being singled out and told to get of the plane,and now he is being arrested because he reacted,how disgusting,this airline should train there staff to be more open to the real world and its fads and style of dressing,lets hope the judge is not going to play fashion god as well.

    I must add that many years ago my wife was a meter maid on the Gold Coast in Australia and here working uniform was a gold bikini,which she wore on many flights when a group of them flew around to promote the city,and I could imagine there reaction if they were told to pull your pants up,

  • Mario

    and what is your take on young women who wear low slung jeans where you can see there tatoos and there bikini panties….black and or brown or white

  • Mario

    and what is your take on young women who wear low slung jeans where you can see there tatoos and there bikini panties….black and or brown or white