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The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Viral video shows fight between ex-NFL player, United worker

A worker at the Newark airport was fired after he was caught trading punches with a former Denver Broncos player

Brendan Langley went to Denver Broncos training camp as a wide receiver in 2019. (David Zalubowski/AP)
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A United Airlines worker and a professional football player got into a fistfight at Newark Liberty International Airport last week, leading police to arrest the athlete and the employee to lose his job after video of the incident drew widespread attention on social media.

Brendan Langley, a Canadian Football League player and former member of the Denver Broncos, was charged with simple assault after the Thursday morning altercation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey confirmed. Rudy King, a public information officer with the Port Authority Police Department, said the incident took place at approximately 11:03 a.m.

Several social media posts showed the altercation, including a video in a Twitter post that listed more than 16 million views as of Wednesday afternoon. The Calgary Stampeders announced Tuesday that they had placed Langley on an indefinite suspension, barring him from entering their facility or having any involvement with the team.

Footage begins with the fight underway as both men slap each other in the face, stare each other down and start throwing punches. The employee stumbles, and a woman in the background cries for the men to stop.

Then, video shows, the employee walks closer and apparently stuns Langley as he uses his left hand to hit his face.

“You saw that [expletive]?” Langley says.

As the fight continues, the employee falls backward. When he gets up and approaches Langley again, one side of his face is covered in blood.

Langley seems shocked again, backing away and asking, “You want some more?”

Some of the conversation is difficult to understand, but the passenger appears to urge people nearby to restrain the employee.

“I’m not the one,” Langley says. “He works at the airport, and he assaulted me.”

Langley posted about the incident on his Twitter account in response to a TMZ story sharing the video. In other tweets, Langley paints the worker as the aggressor. “Every angle shows me walking away from buddy … he followed me all the way down to the kiosk just to cause me bodily harm. im honestly still shocked,” Langley wrote on Twitter.

The Washington Post was not able to reach Langley on Monday despite several efforts. On Wednesday, he referred a reporter to his lawyer, Alan Jackson.

“He simply acted in self-defense, which was reasonably and lawful given the circumstances,” Jackson told the Post, saying that security footage backs up that assertion. “The cell phone footage that was circulating the internet only caught the back half of the story."

In a written statement distributed to press, Jackson said his client “was minding his business walking through the airport with his bags" when the United employee stopped him and “claimed to ‘run the airport.'" Jackson said Langley attempted to ignore the worker, who then goaded him by calling him profane names, challenging him to a fight and shoving him “without provocation.”

The airline employee, whose name was not released, worked for United Ground Express, a subsidiary that supports airport operations. United Ground Express informed the parent company that it has terminated the worker, United Airlines said Monday.

“United Airlines does not tolerate violence of any kind at our airports or on board our planes and we are working with local authorities in their investigation of this matter,” the airline said in a statement provided to The Post.

Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.