Bill Russell releases apology

Updated: October 20, 2013, 10:27 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NBA legend Bill Russell has apologized for his arrest last week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after a loaded gun was found in his carry-on luggage.

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"Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag," Russell said in a statement. "I apologize and truly regret the mistake.

"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."

The Transportation Security Administration says airport police arrested Russell on Wednesday night at a security screening after agents noticed a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol in his carry-on bag.

TSA spokeswoman Lori Dankers says Russell was turned over to Port of Seattle police and cited on a state charge of having a weapon in a prohibited area. Russell had a permit for the gun, which was loaded with six rounds and confiscated, and he was released, according to Dankers.

Airline passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage. They must be stored properly and unloaded.

Information from ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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