The Nevada Wolf Pack football fan accused of throwing an object that struck UNLV coach John Robinson during a game Oct. 4 apologized Monday, but said he doesn't think his empty beer can hit Robinson.
Kevan Old, 31, Reno 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 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.
Old declined to enter a plea during his appearance in Reno Justice Court before Judge Edward Dannan. 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.
UNR 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 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, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment after the arraignment.
UNLV athletic officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Old described himself as a local laborer and longtime UNR 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.
"I understand they are using this as an example to show they are not going to tolerate it. I told my son 'I hope you learn from this like I'm learning from this: Don't get caught up in the crowd and what everybody else is doing.'"
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.
Old said he's worried most about the possibility of losing his home and custody of his son if he were to be convicted and sent to jail. He spent a night in the Washoe County Jail before posting bail.
"Over the last six years I've only missed one of my son's games and that was the day after I got out of jail. I missed his first home run and it was a grand slam," Old said with tears running down both cheeks.
"I was afraid to go out in public because of what had been on television and in the newspapers. It's not the way it sounds. I don't deserve to get jail time for this."