Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Unfair for Telfair?

After (soon-to-be former) Celtics guard Sebastian Telfair got arrested on a gun possesion charge, the franchise is trying to cut the cord faster than networks and Don Imus. The police stopped the 21 year old at 3:53 a.m. while he sped down a 45 mph road doing 77. When the cops came up to the car, they saw the gun sticking out from under the front passenger seat. Oh by the way, his driver's lisence is suspended.


Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck wrote the following in an email to the Boston Globe:
"I wanted to let you know that we have removed Sebastian's nameplate from his locker in Waltham. The facts and circumstances of his case have not been determined but he does not have a Celtics locker and we do not anticipate that he will."

That's a huge statement the organization is making. They know that all the facts aren't in, but they still decided to give him the boot. The Celtics are setting a new precedent for not only their franchise and the NBA, but professional sports organizations and leagues nationwide.

They've decided they want a locker room without any trouble-makers, and I happen to like this move. It's a dangerous precedent, essentially saying they are assuming a player's guilt until proven innocent. Then again, nothing good ever happens at 3:53 a.m. with a gun under the front seat!

In the wake of the NFL's season-long suspension on Adam 'Pacman' Jones, other leagues are clearly taking notice. After all, the NFL is the most-successful, most-watched sport in the country. Why wouldn't other's follow their lead? So that's what the Celtics are doing. They want to distance themselves from the type of people who will hurt the image of their league and their franchise.

To Telfair's credit, police say he didn't act out when they questioned him. That may be the only silver-lining for this young guard. Association commish David Stern is quoted by ESPN saying:

"Our players do have an obligation to conduct themselves in a way that demonstrates the appropriate respect for the game. It's fair to say that if the charges were to be true it wouldn't make me too proud to have someone I know speeding without a license and with a gun in the trunk, but I don't know what the ultimate decision will be, however."

Telfair has a past history with firearm troubles (he brought a gun on a team plane in 2005), which may play into the Celtics' decision to get rid of him. They're making an example out of him; that's clear. But wait til the next time a player gets arrested at nearly 4 a.m. while driving with a suspended lisence and gun in the car. It'll be interesting to see if franchises continue to steer clear of trouble-makers, or ignore the problems like in years past.

If Telfair was a bigger NBA star, he might still have a nameplate on a locker. Instead, he's heading to the waiver wire.

Hope he leaves his gun behind.

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