Knoxville, Tenn. Three freshmen Tennessee football players, including highly touted wide receiver recruit Nu’Keese Richardson and starting safety Janzen Jackson, were charged with attempted armed robbery Thursday morning.
Richardson, 18, and Jackson, 18, along with defensive back Mike Edwards, 18, and companion Marie Montmarquet, 22, each were charged with three counts of attempted armed robbery in connection with an incident at a gas station in an area known as “The Strip” at the edge of Tennessee’s campus.
Richardson and Edwards were being held Thursday afternoon on bonds of $19,500, and Jackson was released on his own recognizance.
“Mr. Jackson vehemently asserts his innocence, and we hope that this will become apparent in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Jackson’s attorney Don Bosch said in a statement. It was not immediately known whether Richardson and Edwards had attorneys.
ESPN aide denies stalking
Hartford, Conn. — A former ESPN production assistant whose affair with broadcaster Steve Phillips led to their firings says she confronted his wife only so he would stop pursuing her. Brooke Hundley told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday that she never stalked the baseball analyst. Both were fired in October after the affair became public.
Bristol, Conn.-based ESPN says its investigation found Hundley’s characterization of the events as inconsistent.
Murray stumbles at Paris
Paris — A tired Andy Murray lost to Radek Stepanek, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, on Thursday in the third round of the Paris Masters. The fourth-seeded Murray looked sluggish in the last two sets and couldn’t overcome a lack of sleep following his three-set win over James Blake that ended at 1:45 a.m. local time Thursday.
Nationals keep Riggleman
Washington — Jim Riggleman waited a decade for another chance to be a full-fledged manager in the major leagues — no interim tag attached. He finally earned that job with the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals are sticking with Riggleman after promoting him from bench coach midway through last season, announcing at a news conference Thursday that he’ll be their manager in 2010.
Riggleman replaced fired skipper Manny Acta in July on an interim basis. The Nationals were 26-61 (a .299 winning percentage) at the time and went 33-42 (.440) under Riggleman, finishing with a majors-worst record of 59-103.
Royals sign infielder
Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals have agreed to terms with infielder Wilson Betemit, a 28-year-old infielder who spent last season in the Chicago White Sox organization. The Royals signed the switch-hitting Betemit to a minor-league contract.
He opened last season on the White Sox roster and hit .200 in 20 games, playing first and third base. In 72 games with Triple-A Charlotte in 2009, he hit .241 with 11 home runs and 49 RBIs.
Hudson, Braves agree
Atlanta — Tim Hudson agreed to a $28 million, three-year contract with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, giving the team a wealth of starting pitching and setting up a likely trade to bolster the offense.
Hudson could have returned to the Braves under a $12 million option, but the sides focused on a longer deal after the right-hander showed he had overcome major elbow surgery.
His new deal calls for salaries of $9 million in each of the next three seasons, and the Braves get a $9 million club option for 2013 with a $1 million buyout.
Hornets fire coach Scott
Westwego, La. — The New Orleans Hornets fired Byron Scott only nine games into the season on Thursday and replaced him with general manager Jeff Bower, hoping the man who put the current roster together can get more out of it on the court.
Scott, who only two seasons ago was the NBA coach of the year, was fired one day after a 124-104 loss at Phoenix dropped New Orleans to 3-6.
Bower, who also will remain general manager, immediately moved to name Tim Floyd his top assistant.
Rose leads at Disney
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Justin Rose shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic. Rickie Fowler, Greg Owen and Casey Wittenberg were one shot back at Disney World in the final PGA Tour event of the season.
Kim leads Ochoa Invitational
Guadalajara, Mexico — Song-Hee Kim shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to take a two-stroke lead over Jiyai Shin, Paula Creamer and Mariajo Uribe — and six-shot advantage over the top-ranked Ochoa.
Tyson could face jail
Los Angeles — Mike Tyson’s run-in with a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport could send him to jail if he violated probation from a drug case in Arizona.
A probation official from Maricopa County, Ariz., said Thursday that his office will start court proceedings if it’s determined Tyson violated parole. The former heavyweight champ and photographer Tony Echeverria both claim they were struck during a Wednesday altercation. The photographer was treated for a cut forehead.
The two were booked by airport police on suspicion of misdemeanor battery and released.