Bengal-ed security? Jones detained at Toronto airport

  • Brian Matusz walks back to the mound after giving up a three-run homer to Adam Rosales, who rounds the bases in the background.
Brian Matusz walks back to the mound after giving up a three-run… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
May 28, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

TORONTO — — Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was detained by Canadian immigration officials for a few hours following the arrival of the team charter early Friday afterhe was mistaken for someone else, he said.

"Basically, what happened, was they had the wrong person," said Jones, who broke the news on his Twitter page. "They thought I was somebody else. It all got situated but it took its time to get situated. It's frustrating for me. I shouldn't have put it out how I put it out. Now, we can all just get on with it. … Everything's taken care of on my end."

According to team sources, Jones and a couple of members of the Orioles' traveling party, including third baseman Miguel Tejada and third base coach Juan Samuel, were selected for further screening after the club arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport about 2:45 a.m.

Jones, who declined to offer many details in an interview with reporters three hours before Friday night's game, said in a tweet at approximately 5:30 a.m. that he was "detained by immigration in Canada for false accusations till 5 a.m. and appreciate someone from the team making sure we're ok NOOOOOOTTTTT."

The tweet was later deleted and Jones backed off the criticism of the club, saying he wasn't the only person there. A team official, who requested anonymity, also said there was a person in a position of authority with Jones during the duration of his stay at the airport. That person is believed to be Samuel, though Jones declined to confirm who was with him. Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is not on this trip.

It's unclear why Jones was detained longer than the other members of the Orioles' traveling party selected for further screenings. However, his mother, Andrea Bradley, said on her Facebook page Friday that her son was confused with Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, who has had numerous brushes with the law.

"I don't know if it's him," Jones said when asked about his mother's claim. "We got the same name obviously, but I'm not going to say I was mistaken for him when I don't know."

The extra screenings have apparently become common practice; the Major League Baseball Players Association recently warned players with criminal convictions or arrests to contact the union before trying to enter Canada, according to the Associated Press. Other teams who have entered Canada to play the Toronto Blue Jays have been subject to the same screenings.

In a memo titled "immigration problems for players entering Canada," which was sent to agents May20 and later obtained by the Associated Press, Doyle Pryor, a union assistant general counsel, said, "Individuals who are not Canadian citizens may be detained at the border and, in certain cases may not be permitted to enter Canada at all, if they have any sort of past criminal record," he wrote.

"Recently, Canadian authorities have stepped up enforcement of these laws, resulting in several non-Canadian players traveling to Toronto with their teams being detained at the border because of a past criminal record."

Jones, however, said he has no criminal record and that his detainment was the result of his being confused for somebody else.

"My mom raised me better than that," he said. "I have never been involved with anything criminal in my entire life. It was a long, pointless situation to me because of the circumstances, but I'm glad that got cleared and that won't be a problem anymore coming into this country."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley called the situation "unfortunate" but said he was glad that it got worked out.

"From what I understand, a lot of teams have had some issues coming in," Trembley said. "I guess the word is more-stringent screening is taking place to get people in. … My understanding [is that] it was a case of mistaken identity. Unfortunate, but glad it got cleared up."

Jones was clearly agitated by the attention the situation drew, though it likely would have gone unreported had he not put it on his Twitter page.

"Obviously putting it on my Twitter page, it's gaining pointless exposure," he said. "I've learned my lesson."

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