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Bill Russell releases statement apologizing for handgun incident at Seattle airport

Oct 20, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

Bill Russell, David Stern AP

NBA legend Bill Russell was arrested on Friday after bringing a handgun into a prohibited area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

All of the details make it seem like this was nothing more than an honest mistake — the 79-year old was stopped after security officials found a handgun in his carry-on bag, but Russell had a permit for the weapon and was released after receiving a citation.

Russell released a statement publicly apologizing for the incident.

From Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe:

“Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag. I apologize and truly regret the mistake,” he said. “I was issued a citation by the TSA, whose agents couldn’t have been more thorough and professional when dealing with this. I really appreciate their efforts to keep air travel safe.”

And that, as they say, is that.

Russell is set to be honored by the Celtics with a statue unveiling on November 1.

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