Sports in the courts
Florida basketball player charged with taco theft
Florida guard Erving Walker has been charged with stealing a taco and running from police. Walker, a senior who ranks first in school history in assists, was arrested and given a notice to appear in court early Friday. He was charged with petty theft and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors. He was not taken to jail.
Gainesville Police say Walker ordered a $3 taco from a street vendor, got the food and ran away without paying. When a police officer caught up with him and told him stop, Walker kept going, according to the police report.
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When officers finally caught Walker with help from "several marked patrol cars," he told them he was "just playing around," the report said.
Walker is scheduled to appear in court April 19.
Source: Payton to appeal year-long ban
Saints Coach Sean Payton is seeking relief from the NFL for his role in New Orleans' bounty system. And so is his assistant, Joe Vitt. The coaches decided to file appeals on Friday. Payton has decided to file an appeal with the league on his season-long suspension, a person familiar with the decision said. Not long after that, Vitt's agent said his client was doing the same for his six-game suspension. Payton's appeal will also ask NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his guidance on the parameters of the suspension, the person told The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because the league and the Saints have not announced Payton's plan to appeal.
Goodell last week announced the suspension of Payton, starting Sunday, for his role in connection with New Orleans' bounty system, which offered improper cash bonuses for big hits that either knocked opponents out of games or left them needing help off of the field. The commissioner has since said the Saints' coach would be allowed to continue working if he appealed, while the process played out. However, he added that the appeal would be expedited, indicating that Payton would not likely be able to add on much work time should his suspension be upheld.
Goodell also said at NFL meetings this week in Florida that Payton could have some contact with the team but did not go into detail, and Payton indicated that he was still a little unclear about that as well. With all the uncertainty, Payton is trying to compress as much planning for the 2012 season into whatever time he has left at Saints headquarters this weekend.
The NFL has said as many as 27 players also could be sanctioned for their role in the scandal, but it is not yet clear when that might happen. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who left the Saints after last season to join the St. Louis Rams, ran the bounty program and has been suspended indefinitely.
Tebow 'not sure' if he'll start again
If Tim Tebow has his sights set on Mark Sanchez's job, the New York Jets backup quarterback is keeping it to himself. Tebow told 1050 ESPN Radio on Friday that he's "not sure" if he'll ever be a starting quarterback again, and that thought doesn't even concern him right now. "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future," Tebow said, referring to his strong Christian faith. "That's something that has always given me peace and comfort. That's why I don't have to worry about the future. I can just worry about today and worry about becoming better as a football player and a person."
Eagles' Pro Bowl tackle out for season
Eagles Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters ruptured his right Achilles and is expected to miss the season. Peters injured his leg while training in Texas on Tuesday. He will have surgery to repair the tendon next week. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Peters is widely considered one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL.
■ Linebacker Manny Lawson has decided to stay with the Cincinnati Bengals. The unrestricted free agent agreed to a new contract Friday. Lawson started 16 games for Cincinnati last season, his first with the Bengals.
■ The New England Patriots re-signed wide receiver Deion Branch. The former Louisville star had 51 catches for 702 yards and five touchdowns last season.
high school basketball
City girls invited to Kentucky tryout
Four city girls were invited to try out for the Kentucky All-Star basketball team that will play the Indiana All-Stars later this year. Lexington Catholic's Alex Botkin, Lexington Christian's Kristen Jacob, Paul Laurence Dunbar's Morgan McEldowney and Sayre's Maddie Mitchell will compete for roster spots on April 21 at Georgetown College. Manual's Stacy Pendleton will coach the team. The games are June 8 at Freedom Hall in Louisville and June 9 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Softball Cats beat Tennessee
Ellen Weaver allowed six hits, Kara Dill went 3-for-4 and Ginny Carroll homered to lead the Kentucky softball team to a 5-3 upset of host Tennessee on Friday. Weaver, a sophomore making her first Southeastern Conference start of the season, gave up one earned run in five innings. Senior Chanda Bell pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Cats (16-17, 3-4). Dill singled, doubled and tripled, and Carroll added a double to her team-leading fifth home run of the season. Tennessee fell to 25-8, 7-5 in the SEC.
■ The No. 2-ranked Kentucky baseball team's series opener at No. 18 Georgia on Friday was postponed because of rain. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at noon.
Five ex-UConn stars on women's team
The U.S. women's basketball team headed to the London Olympics this summer will have a familiar feel for Coach Geno Auriemma. Five former UConn Huskies — Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Swin Cash, Maya Moore and Tina Charles — are on the team announced Friday. And all five helped the U.S. qualify for the Olympics by playing on the 2010 world championship team that won the gold medal. Former Louisville All-American Angel McCoughtry was a first-time selection to the U.S. team. Only 11 of the 12 roster spots were announced. The final spot could go to Baylor junior Brittney Griner, who is playing in the Final Four this weekend in Denver.
Knee injury forces Nadal to withdraw
Rafael Nadal withdrew hours before the start of his semifinal Friday at the Sony Ericsson Open because of a left knee injury that bothered him in recent matches. With his withdrawal, 2009 champion Andy Murray advanced to Sunday's final. He'll play the winner of Friday night's match between top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 21-seeded Juan Monaco. Nadal said his knee has been getting worse and extensive treatment Thursday failed to help. He said he'll see a doctor soon and is optimistic he'll be out only briefly. "I know what to do to get better quick, and that's what we're going to try," Nadal said. The six-time French Open champion still plans to begin his clay season April 16 at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The last word
Headline at TheOnion.com:
"Kentucky celebrates regional win by cutting down Anthony Davis' unibrow."