Amir Khan Says American Airlines Kicking Him Off Flight 'Definitely' Racially Motivated

British boxer Amir Khan said he "definitely" believed the reason he was removed from an internal U.S. flight just days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 was racially motivated.

The former world light-welterweight world champion said he felt like he was being "picked on" before being escorted off an American Airlines flight from New York to Colorado on September 18.

Speaking on the U.K.'s Sky News on Monday, Khan, 34, said he was told to get off the flight after a member of his group was told his mask "was not high enough."

Khan, a Muslim of Pakistani heritage, said the color of his skin "definitely" played a part in why he was told to get off the plane.

He then described himself as an Asian boy, a term used in the U.K. to refer to people coming from or with heritage in the Indian subcontinent.

He told Sky News anchor Kay Burley: "I just feel like I was treated really badly, it was a week after 9/11 and I do feel like things were a little bit tense but to be picked on, two Asian boys who are sat at the front, being pulled out in front of a full plane, it's quite embarrassing really."

When pressed again whether he believed the reason he was removed from the plane was because of his skin color, Khan said: "I'm not saying that, but I think it might have something to do with that.

"Maybe the air stewardess and the staff didn't feel comfortable me being there sat at the front."

Khan then further clarified his comment when asked again if he felt his removal was racially motivated, adding: "Definitely, and I stand by that."

In an earlier statement shared after the incident, American Airlines disputed Khan's version of events and said staff removed two passengers who did not "comply" with requests.

It said: "Prior to take off on September 18, American Airlines Flight 700, with service from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), returned to the gate to deplane two customers who reportedly refused to comply with repeated crew member requests.

"To stow luggage, place cell phones in aeroplane mode and adhere to federal face-covering requirements.

"Our customer relations team has reached out to Mr Khan to learn more about his experience."

Newsweek has contacted American Airlines for comment.

Earlier this month, a couple was kicked off a JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to San Diego, California, after they allegedly refused to wear their facemasks correctly and were filmed hurling abuse at staff.

Amir Khan was escorted of the plane
Amir Khan was escorted off the plane days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Amir Khan talks to the press before he takes part during a training session at Amir Khan Academy on June 19, 2019 in Bolton, England. Nathan Stirk / Stringer/Getty