SaberCats assistant coach arrested after alleged battery on other team’s assistant GM

Well, I’m sure beating up an old man and nearly giving him a heart attack wasn’t how San Jose SaberCats defensive coordinator Cedric Walker was planning to celebrate a victory.

The SaberCats assistant was arrested and charged with battery of a person 65 years or older, which of course is a felony in Florida, and simple battery for allegedly pushing 68-year-old Jacksonville Sharks assistant GM Tim Johnson against a wall multiple times during an ugly altercation on Saturday following San Jose’s own beatdown of the Sharks, 57-36, in a clash of two of the Arena Football League’s best teams.

Walker, 42, was reportedly released from a Jacksonville jail on Sunday. Johnson was also reportedly released from the hospital after receiving treatment for chest pains and a concussion.

According to the SaberCats, the incident arose after the team’s coaches were on the receiving end of “alleged racial epithets,” which would make this whole incident even worse than it already was. It’s unclear, however, if the racist remarks came from Johnson.

Here’s The Florida Times-Union’s account of the melee, which involved multiple members of each team and required “security and about 25 officers to regain control of the situation”:

Moments after the game, a 57-36 SaberCats’ win, coaches, players and team representatives from both clubs argued in a hallway outside their locker rooms at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, said Times-Union sports writer Don Coble, who witnessed the incident.

Coble told police several San Jose coaches and players confronted Sharks Assistant General Manager Tim Johnson, 68, and the argument quickly escalated. Johnson was pushed against the wall, and when he turned to walk away he was pushed again.

Coble said Jacksonville trainer Josh Gregoire tried to step in but was struck in the head, though that allowed Johnson, followed by SaberCats personnel, to make a dash for a nearby foyer where he found police. Johnson then collapsed, complaining of chest pains, Coble said. … Gregoire suffered cuts on his forehead and a broken nose.

(Too bad there wasn’t any biting, otherwise we could have had some fun with this headline.)

Via BANG, here’s the SaberCats’ response:

The SaberCats called the incident “unfortunate” in a statement released by the team Sunday.

The altercation, according to the SaberCats statement, stemmed from “a verbal confrontation involving alleged racial epithets directed toward members of the SaberCats coaching staff by a front office official of the Sharks. The Jacksonville Police Department is currently investigating the situation and the SaberCats organization will have no further comment at this time.”

The AFL will also launch its own investigation.

H/T Steve Corkran

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