Which is Worse on a Man? Sagging Pants or Ladies Underwear?

June 23, 2011  |  


I travel pretty frequently and I must admit that most of the time, I sit as far away as possible from the “baggy pants” crowd or just strange people in general because I do not want to be guilty by association of the potential hooliganism that will undoubtedly ensue. Sorry, that’s just how I feel.

In the case of DeShon Marman (a black college football player), I probably would have given him half a side-eye because of his baggy pants or pajama pants as KTVU reported.  I would have just shaken my head and prayed silently that someday, he would realize that it’s just not worth it. Perhaps, that day has come, albeit under unfortunate and unfair circumstances.

I initially read this story in passing, shook my head, and kept it moving until it came out that the man pictured below was allowed to board a US Airways flight six days later, no questions asked, and in spite of complaints from other passengers.

US Airways has maintained that in each instance, employees acted correctly, stating that while they do not have a dress code policy, as long as a passenger is not “exposing their private parts, they’re allowed to fly”.


Show of hands, who wants to sit next to this guy on a plane? That’s what I thought, but the most egregious part of this story is a US Airways employee has said that Marman’s pants were sagging and “his boxer shorts were showing”, but no one has said that Marman was exposing anything other than his Hanes. In fact, his attorney asserts that security footage will prove that Marman was not showing any skin. So if all of this is true, how can Valerie Wunder, spokesperson for US Airways, tell us with a straight face that employees acted correctly in allowing a man in women’s underwear to board a plane, while arresting another man, who was more fully clothed, for refusing to pull up his pants?

While the blatant inconsistency and lack of substantive explanation from US Airways is upsetting, that’s not what we should be upset about. The real lesson in this story is that to be treated better, we need to be better and do better. DeShon Marman didn’t have to wear pajamas out in public (if that is in fact true), nor did he have to wear pants of any kind below his waist, where they belong. One ESPN writer argues that Marman knew better because his mother had told him to pull his pants up many times before, yet for whatever reason, he chose to ignore that advice.

Now, I will say again, I do not agree with how the situation was handled. No one should have to experience the humiliation of being led away in handcuffs and I sincerely hope that he and his family are getting the emotional and legal support they need to move past this ordeal. However, if he decides to take his case to a court of law, I hope he wears a suit…and a belt.


Do you think US Airways made the right choice in each instance? Do you think race was a factor?

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  • SVSS

    something is missing here.I'm quite sure the arrest was not based on what he wore but on what happened after he was told about it

  • It is just utterly stupid for someone to wear sagging pants. Businesses, including Black businesses, do not want to hire black men who wears sagging pants. These pants are unattractive and reflects immaturity. A man wearing a sagging pants doesn’t look like a person who wants to create good things such as technology. Although technology can be use to harm other people, so don’t get me wrong.

  • Charles

    A friend and I have not spoken in a few days because of this . she says it blatent racism and i say a man as old as this needs and should want to adjust his clothes as not to offend anyone . Now as I read a more detailed description of what happen I now feel yes this was purely racial .

  • Ms Peach

    What some of you people on here have to remember is that the corporations incorporate these "dress code" policies to discourage black/minority customers. How many "plumbers" cracks have I seen in public… MANY…at least young black males have on underwear. All this white man has on is underwear…this is unacceptable! The fact he was able to get on a flight in underwear and a black male with just a portion of his underwear visible, if it was even visible…is ridiculous. I am writing them a letter. I was discriminated against when a black employee there told me I need to remove my head scarf…they obviously have dress codes that are intended to discourage black patrons

  • Gimmeabreak78

    Before you say it's racial, did you bother to ask if there were other black male passengers on the plan who were able to board without incident. If there were, then the objection was to the clothing, rather than the skin color of the passenger. I'm not saying that racism doesn't exist in atrocious numbers, I'm just saying that oftentimes blog writers have deadlines to meet, and so they write stories about low-hanging fruit hoping to get more clicks to their page.

    • penne

      *sigh* See Carolyn's reply to Melissa.

  • Gimmeabreak78

    The point is, many people dress strangely. The fact that Deshon's case, the white woman's case, and this cross-dresser's case make the news at all is a testement to how rarely this happens in air travel. Don't get me wrong–I know racism when I see it, and this isn't it. This is more of a case of mutual stupidity. In DeShon's case, it's stupid to walk around with your underwear exposed (that is why they call it UNDERwear isn't it?) and it's stupid on the part of the airline to make such a big deal about a passenger who otherwise wasn't the slightest bit disruptive. Same goes for the white woman. Wearing a skirt so short that you wouldn't be able to bend from the knees or stretch to put your bag in the overhead bin without worring about exposing too much of yourself to an unsuspecting passenger is stupid, and so is asking the woman to get off the plane for her skimpy outfit. The fact that all three incidents happen so rarely is a testement to the fact that each scenario has more to do with the delicate (or not so delicate in the case of the cross-dresser) sensibilities of the flight crew than any insidious expression of racism.

  • Kia

    i hate to see men sagging thier pants and i'm equally incensed by this guy traveling in women's underwear. Both these men should have been prevented from flying if US Airways have a dresscode. the definition of under wear is just that wear under outer wear! But it is quite obvious that US Airways made their decisions based on race. Racism is on the rise against blacks and mexicans and I will never travel on US Airways ever. Everytime i hear of a company being racist I boycott them until they make drastic efforts to right the wrongs.

  • Melissa

    Both are disgusting, and I as a black woman am so SICK AND TIRED!!!! Of when we as a people do something wrong we say it's a race thing. Maybe it is maybe it isnt regardless I as a black woman don't want to see you or anyone else sons underwear. The guys mother said something to the effect he had just came from a funeral so he was upset blah blah blah..and that hes just a young black man trying to do good for himself..Im like WTF??? What does any of that have to do with the fact that he was wearing his pants below his waist. Damn! take responsibility for your actions quit ways bringing race into it. We cry race issues/prejudice in every situation so much that when it really happens no one believes it. I'm surprised Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton didnt start the marches. This whole new generation is screwed up. Its a shame that this is what has become of a race that fought so hard to get where we are now.

    • carolyn

      @melissa, the truth of the matter is: either an airline has a policy or they do not…if they have a policy it should be applied equally. what reason would they have for pulling the young man off the plane yet letting the old man remain although he is wearing, not a bikini, but underwear???? no matter what the reason, it is an unequally applied policy, which leaves them open for a law suit, and justifiably so. now tell me what you think us air would do if you, a woman, walked onto their flight in a bra, underwear and a shawl. chances are they would remove you from the flight….fairness in application of a policy is what this is truly about….not taking responsibility for your actions.

  • Liza

    Race was absolutely a factor. Who would want their children to see an old man in speedos and a shawl? I'd personally rather see someone's boxer shorts being partially shown versus an old retiree in Vickies.

  • DH1

    Both are wrong. I don't want someone's grandpa's nuts wafting around my airplane snacks. Pun intended.

  • Nunya

    are you serious?? i wondered if they would

  • Jbmadison

    I tell ya, my list is getting a little long concerning what companies I will and won't give my money too. And…US Airways is another one to bite the dust, SMH

  • you can't legislate morality and you can stop stupidity but racism will be the downfall of this country

  • HowCanYouBe

    I think they BOTH are worse. I don't want a man trying to spit game to me and his pants are sagging to the floor(so unattractive). I also don't want to see another female bending down or walking and you can see her underwear or butt crack(so unladylike).

  • Juliemango

    Youth r the future. The old guys on his way out. J/k!!!

  • Kayla

    Of course race is a factor, how can anyone not see that. It's so easy to pick on young black men, who sag their pants.