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Lawsuit against Bevo XV

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A photographer is suing the owners and handlers of the University of Texas’ live mascot for negligence, saying he suffered permanent neck and back injuries when the longhorn steer charged out of its pen and plowed into several people at the 2019 Sugar Bowl.

Nick Wagner, who was then a photographer for the Austin American-Statesman, filed a petition Friday in Travis Country district court, the newspaper reported.

According to the petition, Wagner was on one knee shooting photos of Georgia’s English bulldog mascot, Uga X, before the Texas-Georgia game at the New Orleans Superdome on Jan. 1, 2019, when the steer, Bevo XV, charged at the dog.

Uga X was quickly pulled out of harm’s way, but the steer’s head and horns appeared to make contact with several people, including two photographers.

“Bevo XV rammed his longhorns twice into Plaintiff’s back causing permanent injury to Plaintiff’s neck and back,” the petition says.

Wagner, who left the newspaper in May, wants a jury trial and is seeking damages of $200,000 to $1 million.

John and Betty Baker, Bevo’s owners, are named as defendants along with the Silver Spurs Alumni Association. The group is in charge of handling the 1,700-pound (770-kilogram) steer, which has been the mascot for the University of Texas since the start of the 2016 season.

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Dolphins going with Tua

MIAMI (AP) — Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores says he regrets that his players found out about the team’s switch to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa through social media rather than from him.

And Flores says the decision to bench popular veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was difficult.

“Fitz has done a great job,” Flores said Wednesday. “He has been productive. His leadership has been great. But we felt like for the team now, moving forward, this is a move we need to make.”

Tagovailoa, the fifth pick in the April draft, will make his first NFL start on Nov. 1 against the Los Angeles Rams after the Dolphins’ bye this week.

News of the change leaked Tuesday.

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Family settles suit

LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina family has settled a lawsuit filed after a 14-year-old high school football player collapsed after an intense practice and died, news outlets reported.

The suit, filed against Lexington County School District 1 over the death River Bluff High School student Lewis Simpkins, was settled without a trial through a resolution process. The amount of money involved in the agreement wasn’t listed in court documents.

The complaint was filed in 2018, or two years after Lewis collapsed in August 2016 after a more than two-hour practice that included running and doing drills in full pads. Former players described the day as “the hardest practice they had ever had,” according to the complaint.

With the heat index around 95 degrees, the teen collapsed after drills and began gasping for air. He eventually became unresponsive.

The suit, filed by the youth’s parents, claimed officials failed to protect Lewis from dangerous conditions.

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Saints getting fans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints will start having fans in the stands for home games after the mayor agreed with the team on a phased plan starting Sunday against Carolina.

The plan announced Tuesday will start with 3,000 tickets for Sunday’s game, increasing to 6,000 fans for November games with San Francisco and Atlanta and up to 15,000 in December for games against Kansas City and Minnesota barring any changes in local health and safety guidelines.

A limited number of tickets for players, the team and other required NFL obligations also were approved. Both the Saints and the mayor’s office reminded everyone to keep wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.

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New NBA coaches hired

(AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday confirmed their hiring of Tyronn Lue to replace Doc Rivers as coach.

Lue spent last season as an assistant on Rivers’ staff. Rivers coached the Clippers for the last seven seasons and is now guiding the Philadelphia 76ers. The team introduced Lue virtually on Wednesday.

Also, the Indiana Pacers hired Nate Bjorkgren as their new coach Tuesday.

Bjorkgren’s hiring ends a two-month search that began when the Pacers fired Nate McMillan on Aug. 26, just weeks after giving McMillan a contract extension. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

Bjorkgren joins the Pacers after spending the last two seasons on Nick Nurse’s staff in Toronto, where he helped the Raptors capture their first NBA championship in 2018-19. Bjorkgren was an assistant with the Phoenix Suns from 2015-17 and spent four seasons as a G-League head coach.

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