Meyer: Don't blame me, Gators for Hernandez
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said it is "wrong and irresponsible" to connect him or his former Florida staff to the first-degree murder charge Aaron Hernandez faces.
In a series of texts to the Columbus Dispatch and Gainesville Sun on Saturday, the Gators coach from 2005-10 defended his treatment of Hernandez during the tight end's three seasons at UF. It was the first time Meyer commented on Hernandez after declining to do so last week. The former Patriot has pleaded not guilty to the shooting death of Odin Lloyd and remains jailed after being denied bail.
Hernandez was never arrested at Florida, but he was suspended for the 2008 opener for a positive test for marijuana.
And he was questioned in connection with a 2007 shooting Gainesville police have classified as an open attempted homicide. When Meyer was asked about the incident, he said an assistant informed him of it and, "I didn't think about it again until a couple of days ago." Meyer did not address Hernandez's alleged involvement in a separate 2007 violent altercation with a bar bouncer.
Meyer also said he "received an email … where there is an accusation of multiple failed drug tests covered up" by the school or staff. He called it "absolutely not true" and said Hernandez was "held to the same drug testing policy as every other player."
"Prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of (Lloyd)," Meyer said. "Relating or blaming these serious charges to the University of Florida, myself or our staff is wrong and irresponsible."
More Hernandez: Ernest Wallace, charged with accessory to murder after the fact, will be arraigned Monday. He was in Miramar when he turned himself in on June 28 and arrived in Massachusetts on Friday. The other alleged accomplice, Carlos Ortiz, remains jailed on $1.5 million bond on a charge of carrying a gun.
Butler promotes assistant
Butler hired assistant Brandon Miller as coach. He replaces Brad Stevens, who left for the NBA's Celtics. It's the fourth straight time Butler, part of the new Big East, promoted an assistant. Miller played for Butler from 2000-03 and was an assistant for it in 2007-08. He took a year off from coaching in 2011-12, spent last season at Illinois and was hired by Stevens in April.
Brit thrives in first mountain stage
Britain's Chris Froome took the lead at the Tour de France by winning Stage 8, the first in the Pyrenees. Froome, 28, who finished second last year, completed 121 miles in 5 hours, 3 minutes and 17 seconds to sit 51 seconds ahead of Australia's Richie Porte and 1:25 ahead of Spain's Alejandro Valverde. Two-time champion Alberto Contador of Spain is seventh, 1:51 behind. Luxembourg's Andy Schleck, the 2010 winner, is 21st, 4:00 back. And Australia's Cadel Evans, the 2011 winner, is 23rd, 4:36 back. "More than anything, we've got a bit of a psychological advantage over the others," Froome said. South Africa's Daryl Impey, who started the day in first, finished 35th in the stage and sat 31st overall, 7:42 behind Froome.
Track: Usain Bolt ran the fastest 200 meters of the year, 19.73 seconds, at the Areva Diamond League meet in Paris. His time was 0.01 seconds better than Tyson Gay at the U.S. championships last month and 0.19 faster than the second-place finisher, fellow Jamaican Warren Weir.
Soccer: Felipe Avenatti, who entered five minutes earlier, scored on a header in the 103rd minute to give Uruguay a 1-0 upset of Spain in the quarters of the Under-20 World Cup in Istanbul, Turkey. Uruguay faces the winner of today's match between Iraq and South Korea. Also, Paul Pogba and Florian Thauvin converted penalty kicks as France beat Uzbekistan 4-0. France faces the winner of today's match between Ghana and Chile. Both semis are Wednesday.
Horses: Game On Dude led all the way in winning the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup for the second straight year at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. The 1-5 favorite won by 1½ lengths. … Big Blue Kitten won the $500,000 United Nations Stakes by 1¼ lengths at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. … Flat Out won the $350,000 Suburban Handicap by 2½ lengths at Belmont Park in New York.