February 16, 2006

Trail Blazers’ Telfair disciplined after gun found on plane

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Portland Trail Blazers have
disciplined guard Sebastian Telfair after a handgun was found
inside his pillow on the team plane at a Boston airport, the
team said in a statement.

No charges have been filed against the 20-year-old Telfair,
the team said. The NBA is also investigating the incident,
which violates league and team policy, the Trail Blazers said.

The gun was discovered while the cabin area of the team
plane was being prepared for a flight from Boston to Toronto on
Saturday.

"After questioning Sebastian and conducting a preliminary
investigation, authorities accepted Sebastian's explanation
that he had inadvertently grabbed his girlfriend's bag by
mistake when he left for the team's current road trip," the
Trail Blazers said.

"The bag contained his girlfriend's handgun that she
purchased from a licensed gun retailer in Oregon for her
personal protection.

"When Sebastian made the discovery while in flight, he
placed the gun inside his own pillow and chose to leave it on
the plane for the rest of the trip."

"While we're 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," Trail Blazers president Steve Patterson
said in a statement.

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

The Oregonian, a Portland newspaper, reported on Thursday
Telfair had been fined an undisclosed amount.

"I made a big mistake, and I'm sorry," Telfair told the
newspaper. "Other than that, I have no comment. I have to wait
and see what the NBA wants to do."

(Writing by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina)