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Friday, November 22
Stoudamire, Wallace will have to appear in court

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Trail Blazers teammates Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace were cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession early Friday after their vehicle was stopped on the way home from a game in Seattle.

Damon Stoudamire

Rasheed Wallace

The players were passengers in the vehicle, which was stopped for speeding just after midnight near Centralia, Wash., midway between Seattle and Portland. The Trail Blazers defeated the SuperSonics 89-85 Thursday night.

"It's crazy,'' Wallace said in a hastily called news conference with Stoudamire Friday afternoon. "All I've got to say about it is, the truth will come to the light.''

Stoudamire, Wallace and the driver, identified as 43-year-old Edward Smith of Portland, were cited and released.

"First of all, I just want to say we are talking about this today because me and Rasheed don't want this to become a distraction to our teammates,'' Stoudamire said in his brief statement. "We're very sorry that this happened. We would like to apologize to everyone out there.''

Earlier this year, Stoudamire was charged with a felony after police found a large bag of marijuana in his home while investigating a burglar alarm. A judge declared the search illegal, but prosecutors are appealing.

The team did not practice Friday. Trail Blazers president and general manager Bob Whitsitt released a statement expressing the team's disappointment.

"I understand that the fans are disappointed when they hear allegations like this about players, as I am personally,'' Whitsitt said. "I want the fans to know that our organization does not condone this type of behavior from our players, and if found to be guilty, the organization will take appropriate action.''

Wallace, Stoudamire and Smith were ordered to appear in Lewis County District Court on Dec. 6, Lt. Marty Butler of the Washington State Patrol said. Under Washington state law, misdemeanor possession is punishable with a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Sgt. Rob Huss stopped the vehicle for going 84 mph in a 70 mph zone, Butler said.

"The trooper got the strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle, so he initiated an investigation,'' Washington State Patrol spokesman Garvin March said.

The trooper requested assistance from local police, who sent a drug-sniffing dog to help search the vehicle, March said. Less than 40 grams of marijuana was found, making it a misdemeanor instead of a felony under Washington state law, he said.

After the tickets were issued, the three men continued on their way.

Wallace scored 13 points in Thursday night's victory, the Blazers' third in a row. Stoudamire, who has been struggling to regain his starting point guard spot from Scottie Pippen, was benched for the second time in three games.

Wallace is known throughout the league for contentious relationship with officials, but off the court he keeps a low profile and seldom has gotten into trouble.

"I'd like to apologize to my wife and my kids,'' Wallace said. "I'd like to apologize to my coach and my teammates. ... We don't want to be a distraction for Blazers basketball as far as a players' standpoint or a fans' standpoint. It's a big game tomorrow.''

Portland plays Sacramento at the Rose Garden on Saturday night.

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