Etan Thomas said he was denied a seat on an Amtrak train because of his race. The former NBA player, who spent much of his career with the Washington Wizards, shared a story about a woman who told Thomas the seat next to her on a full train was occupied.
There was one problem. The seat next to her was empty, and, the woman accepted another man’s request for the seat just a few moments later, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The man happened to be white.
After Etan Thomas took a photo of her to share his story on social media, she threatened to tell the conductor - who, as it turns out, was a fan of Thomas. The story takes a big turn in so many ways.
The former NBA player said there were no open seats on the train, so he asked the lady “very politely and I soften my voice as to not frighten her” if someone was sitting in the seat next to her. The woman told Thomas that the seat was already taken, Raw Story reported.
“So I go to the next seat. Now, less than 2 mins later a man (who happens to be white) asks if he can sit there and she says why sure let me move my stuff,” Thomas said. He felt that he needed to say something, so he asked her if she was scared of him because he was black, and she replied, “don’t pull the race card stuff with me I dated a Black guy in college.”
Etan Thomas then said he was going to take her picture to send to his social media account to let everyone know about this person who didn’t want him to sit next to her. “So then she says did you just take a pic of me ? Well I’m going to tell the conductor that you’re over here illegally taking pics of ppl without their consent,” Thomas said.
The conductor went up to Thomas to say how he appreciated what he’s doing in the community and enjoyed watching him when he played for the Washington Wizards. That’s when Thomas looked at the woman and asked, “was there something you wanted to tell my man?” The woman then rolled her eyes.
The Electronic Urban Report said that Etan Thomas’ story has gone viral with more than 29,000 shares, 4,000 comments, and 116,000 likes. The name and identity of the woman Thomas reportedly had the verbal scuffle with are not known, and, so far, has not made any public statements regarding the situation.