AROUND THE HORN

Players, refs trade punches in Atlanta

EMERSON, Ga. (AP) — A video shows players and referees trading punches at an Amateur Athletic Union basketball game in an Atlanta suburb.

News outlets report the video has been shared on social media thousands of times. It shows the Sunday morning brawl in the AAU game between Chicago-based R.A.W. Athletics and the Houston Raptors at the LakePoint sports facility in Emerson.

R.A.W. Athletics coach Howard Martin tells WSB-TV he thinks one of his players had complained to a referee about a call before he was ejected from the game. Martin says the player was walking toward the bench when the referee pushed him.

Raptors coach Bobby Benjamin says he saw a player bump into the referee, but he’s not exactly sure what started the fight.

The referee management didn’t return calls and emails from WSB-TV.

Alabama linebacker dismissed from team

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama has dismissed linebacker VanDarius Cowan from the team for violating unspecified team rules.

Coach Nick Saban announced the decision Monday in a statement, saying “each of us has a responsibility to represent the University of Alabama in a first-class way, and failure to meet those standards can’t be tolerated.”

Saban says Cowan violated team rules, but did not specify what rules.

Cowan played in seven games last season as a freshman. He made two tackles, both coming against Mercer.

Cowan was rated a five-star prospect out of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, by Scout.com.

Sale of NFL’s Panthers closed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers announced the sale of the franchise to David Tepper has closed.

Tepper becomes only the second owner in team history. He started work on Monday.

Tepper, the founder and president of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management, L.P., bought the team from founder Jerry Richardson for $2.2 billion — the most ever paid for an NFL franchise. Richardson put the team up for sale in December after reports of sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace, which the league later confirmed .

Tepper said in a release Monday he’s thrilled to begin a “new era” in Carolina.

NFL owners approved of the sale to Tepper on May 22 at the spring meetings in Atlanta.

The Panthers also announced Tina Becker, who was appointed as COO by Richardson in December, has resigned.

Ex-Lion arrested in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Police say a former Detroit Lions player has been arrested in Pittsburgh for punching an officer after refusing to pay a limo driver.

NFL free agent Brandon Pettigrew is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, theft of services and public drunkenness.

Police say the 33-year-old tight end refused to pay $97 for a limo ride to a downtown hotel early Monday.

According to a complaint, when officers arrived Pettigrew became aggressive and punched one officer in the chest three times. Police allege he was visibly intoxicated.

The complaint says officers drew their stun guns but Pettigrew, who lives in Flint, Texas, complied and was handcuffed.

Royals sign 16-year-old Japanese pitcher

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kaito Yuki is headed to the Kansas City Royals organization instead of attending high school in Japan.

The 16-year-old pitcher agreed Sunday to a minor league contract with a $322,500 signing bonus. He is thought to be the first Japanese junior high school player to sign with a major league club.

“I wanted to play in the United States as soon as possible, rather than playing high school ball at Koshien Stadium (in Japan’s iconic national championship),” Yuki said in statement issued by the Royals.

Yuki is listed at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and the right-hander’s fastball has been clocked at 87-88 mph. He was born on May 12, 2002.

“My goal is to do well in the majors. Not everybody is given that chance, so I want to do my best,” he said from his hometown of Osaka.

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