Chipotle suspends manager after NFL player Darius Leonard says he was racially profiled

Darius Leonard said his group was asked to leave after a white customer lied and claimed they were bothering him.
/ Source: TODAY

Chipotle suspended a manager and is investigating after an NFL player said he was racially profiled and asked to leave a restaurant in Florence, South Carolina.

Darius Leonard, a linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts, posted a video on Thursday detailing the incident.

Leonard, 24, said he was dining with three Black men and a mixed-race woman when the manager approached them "with a terrible attitude" and threatened to call the police.

He said the manager alleged a white customer complained that the group was verbally abusive and "talking trash" to him.

"It was basically a lie," Leonard said. "We basically got kicked out of Chipotle because of that."

"That's what being Black in America is right now," he added. "Us not even doing anything wrong, going out to eat with your family, just trying to spend a little bit of quality time."

Brian Niccol, chairman and CEO of Chipotle, told TODAY in an email that the manager of the restaurant has been suspended while the company conducts an investigation.

"We are currently investigating the incident involving Darius Leonard in Florence, South Carolina. We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind and we have suspended our manager while we conduct a thorough investigation," Niccol said. "I’ve personally talked with Darius and I’m committed to ensuring the appropriate action is taken once the investigation concludes."

The video comes at a time when people and institutions around the United States are being asked to address systemic racism.

Earlier this month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a video apology and said the league must do better when it comes to addressing racism.

"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter," he said. "I personally protest with you and want to be a part of the much-needed change in this country."

The apology was met with some criticism since Goodell didn't mention Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers player who was ostracized for kneeling to protest police violence against Black people.