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Fri, Feb 17, 2006

Portland Basketball Player Fined After Loaded Gun Found On Team Plane

Today's Lesson? Be Sure To Grab The Right Bag

Portland Trail Blazers guard Sebastian Telfair (right) had some explaining to do this week... to the team, the TSA, and even his girlfriend, after a handgun was found onboard the team's private jet as it was being readied for departure from Logan International Airport in Boston last weekend.

The Associated Press says the loaded gun was found onboard the plane Saturday, in a pillowcase belonging to Telfair.

"We did sweep the plane and we did find the handgun, and it was a loaded handgun," said TSA spokeswoman Jennifer Peppin. "Once we got that we turned it over to the State Police in Boston."

Seems it was all a misunderstanding, though. Telfair told local authorities the gun belonged to his girlfriend, and he had simply grabbed the wrong bag in his haste to make the flight to Toronto.

Authorities confirmed the gun was registered to Samantha Rodriguez, Telfair's girlfriend of five years.

In a statement on the team's website, the Trail Blazers say Telfair found the handgun during the trip out to Boston, but he then hid the gun in his pillowcase and failed to tell anyone, in hopes the error would go unnoticed.

"[Telfair] has apologized profusely, but he knows he must be held accountable for his actions," said Trail Blazers President Steve Patterson. "He will pay the price for his error in judgment for violating both team and league policy. The organization has also earned a lesson from this issue and is taking steps to tighten security for all carry-on items on our team plane."

While the Massachusetts Port Authority says it's unlikely any charges will be filed against Telfair, the NBA is also reviewing the matter... as something like does little to help during a time when the league is still working to recover from last year's drag-out brawl between fans and players at a game between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons.

The news also comes one week after a documentary film about Telfair's life, "Through The Fire," opened in the Portland area. The film tells the story of Telfair's senior year in high school, after which he made the jump to the NBA.

FMI: www.nba.com

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