Trail Blazers guard fined after gun found on plane

Updated: February 15, 2006, 11:48 PM ET
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Portland Trail Blazers fined guard Sebastian Telfair on Wednesday after a loaded gun was found on the team's private jet at Boston's Logan Airport.

Sebastian Telfair

The handgun was found in a pillowcase belonging to Telfair as the team plane was being prepared for a flight from Boston to Toronto, the team said in a statement.

Telfair explained to local authorities that the gun belonged to his girlfriend and that he had inadvertently grabbed the wrong bag when leaving for the team's road trip.

"We did sweep the plane and we did find the handgun, and it was a loaded handgun," said Jennifer Peppin, a regional spokeswoman based in Seattle for the Transportation Security Administration. "Once we got that we turned it over to the state police in Boston."

The gun is registered in Oregon to Samantha Rodriguez, Telfair's girlfriend of five years.

The Trail Blazers left Portland on Feb. 7 for their five-game trip. Portland lost 102-86 to New Orleans on Wednesday night. Telfair had two points in 19 minutes.

The matter was turned over to the Massachusetts Port Authority, which said no charges would be filed.

Portland coach Nate McMillan said Telfair would continue to play with the team. He said "everything has checked out as far as the Boston authorities and what happened."

"It was a mistake," McMillan said. "... I'm sure he is embarrassed by the situation. There's nothing he can do about it now except to make sure that he is aware of where his weapons are. He's fine. He's OK.

"In a situation like that, I think it was smart of him not to carry the thing around. He didn't want to carry that thing around, so he never did. We do have security with us, and he should make them aware of situations like that."

The first-year Blazers coach said players were told about the rules regarding weapons before the season and again after the Telfair situation. A Blazers spokesman said Telfair was not available for comment before the game.

"They are well aware that they can't carry firearms on the plane. That is something bigger than the organization. The league is involved in that," McMillan said. "... Whenever you are doing something with the NBA, you can't carry any type of weapons, whether they are guns or knives or anything else when you are doing business with the NBA."

The team fined Telfair an undisclosed amount for violating league and team policy. The NBA is reviewing the matter.

"While we had to allow the legal process to run its course, and were grateful it appears that the authorities have determined Sebastian initially made an innocent mistake, he clearly compounded the situation by making the wrong choice by not notifying the team's traveling security agent about his situation immediately," Blazers president Steve Patterson said Wednesday.

"He has apologized profusely, but he knows he must be held accountable for his actions."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press