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Old says he's being singled out

10/20/2003 - UNLV Rebels

RENO, Nev. -- The fan accused of throwing an object that
struck UNLV coach John Robinson during a game against Nevada on
Oct. 4 apologized Monday, but said he doesn't think his empty beer
can hit him.

Kevan Old said in a tearful interview after his arraignment on a
misdemeanor battery charge that he does not understand why he's
been singled out among dozens of other fans who showered the rival
Rebels with empty containers as the team left the field at
halftime.

"The public humiliation has been horrible," said the
31-year-old Old, a youth baseball coach and single father of an
11-year-old son.

"Some people at work won't look at me," he said in a
courthouse interview with The Associated Press.

Reno Justice Court Judge Edward Dannan entered an innocent plea
on Old's behalf after Old declined to enter a plea. The judge told
him that prosecutors indicated they would seek "jail time" for
the simple battery charge punishable by a maximum of six months in
jail.

"I can't go to jail. I'm a single parent," Old told the judge,
who set a preliminary hearing for Nov. 18.

Campus police issued a statement identifying Old as the suspect
arrested at Mackay Stadium for the alleged attack on Robinson
within minutes of the conclusion of UNLV's 16-12 win over Nevada.

Robinson said he was hit in the head by a plastic bottle as he
and the team left the field during an emotionally charged game.
Police later said they did not know if it was a plastic water
bottle, plastic beer bottle or beer can.

Old said outside the courtroom Monday that he got caught up with
the hostile crowd and threw an empty aluminum beer can in the air,
demonstrating a toss over his head like a basketball hook shot.

"All of a sudden they were pointing at me," he told the AP.
"I don't even know whether it was me [that hit Robinson]. I
don't think it was. I was among hundreds," he said.

"They make it sound like I was taking aim at him. I just went
along with the crowd. Everyone was booing. There was no intention
at all. I just wasn't thinking. I was in the wrong place at the
wrong time."

Tammy Riggs, the Washoe County deputy district attorney handling
the case, said Old's statements were "not consistent with the
police report."

"We had witnesses who came forward. That is the reason Mr. Old
was the one who was arrested," said Riggs, who confirmed
prosecutors are seeking jail time.

Robinson said after the game that whoever threw the item
"should go to jail." He's had no further comment, UNLV spokesman
Mark Wallington said Monday.

Old described himself as a local laborer and longtime Wolf Pack
fan who was born and raised in Reno. He said he's been singled out
unfairly as a suspected criminal assailant.

"It's not the nature of my character. I don't condone this at
all. I don't condone any unsportsmanlike conduct. I coach baseball.
I haven't been in any violent trouble in my life," Old said.

Old said he might have given the mistaken impression he was
admitting the attack on Robinson when he told local television
stations earlier he was sorry for the incident.

"When I said I didn't want to bring any embarrassment, it
sounded like I was admitting guilt. I'm not admitting guilt but I
am sorry for my actions," he said.