Originally created 12/29/00

Gators, Hurricanes fight on Bourbon Street

NEW ORLEANS -- Players from Miami and Florida scuffled on Bourbon Street on the first night both teams were in New Orleans preparing for the Sugar Bowl.

Two of those involved were briefly detained by police. No charges or reports were filed, but players and coaches from both teams acknowledged the fight broke out about 11:30 Wednesday night.

Miami coach Butch Davis and Florida coach Steve Spurrier played down the matter. Neither disciplined their players.

"I wouldn't really say it was a fight," Florida offensive lineman Kenyatta Walker said. "It was just a little pushing match."

Davis described it as a "minor verbal confrontation," and Spurrier called it "an unfortunate situation."

The welt below Florida defensive lineman Alex Brown's left eye suggested it could have been more.

"He had a little scuffle mark on him," Spurrier said.

Brown, Reche Caldwell, Gerard Warren, Jabar Gaffney and Andra Davis were among the Florida players involved, according to an eyewitness account from a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel.

A reporter from WQAM radio in Miami, the flagship station for the Hurricanes, witnessed the verbal confrontation that led to the fight a few minutes later. He said Miami players involved in the shouting included Al Blades, James Lewis, Troy Prasek, Jarvis Gray and Jim Wilson.

The Sentinel reported about 40 players were involved in the fight. Davis said he thought only about "a half dozen" Miami players were involved.

The Sentinel reported that Warren and an unidentified Miami player were handcuffed and detained at the police station for about 30 minutes, before police shuttled them back to hotels. Davis said no Miami player was detained and all made the team's 1:30 a.m. curfew.

"We didn't have one single player taken into custody," Davis said. "Every one of our players made curfew last night. Nobody did anything that would lead to disciplinary action."

Warren declined comment. Spurrier said he wouldn't punish his players unless he got solid information that would show one of them did wrong.

"All we can tell is what our players tell us," Spurrier said. "Butch, all he can go by is what his players tell him. To get to the story, you've got to find somebody there who saw it that really has no partialness either way and let them describe it."

Sgt. Paul Accardo of the New Orleans Police Department confirmed a fight broke out about 11:15 p.m. in the French Quarter and two individuals were detained. He wouldn't release their identities.

He said no injuries were reported and no complaints were filed, so there was no need to file a report.

"We don't document every fight that occurs on Bourbon Street," Accardo said. "Particularly when there were no injuries and no one's coming forward claiming to be a victim of anything."

Brown and Davis said the matter was overblown and hoped the Sugar Bowl, to be played Tuesday night, wouldn't suffer.

"I think it brings the game down a little bit," Brown said. "But it's two wonderful teams, wonderful programs standing there growling. We've still got to come out here and play no matter what goes on the next couple days. Hopefully, nothing will come out of this. Hopefully, everybody will still be able to play."

Brown said Spurrier hadn't handed down any punishment as of Thursday morning, "but I'm sure we'll have a meeting about it."

Florida linebacker Travis Carroll emerged from the fight with his shirt stained with blood, the Sentinel said.

"It's a bitter rivalry," Carroll said. "This just heats it up a bit."

After the players began scuffling, police cars raced down Bourbon Street to scatter the crowd and a portion of the street was sealed off, the Sentinel reported. But a few minutes later and a few blocks down the street, the players re-converged and the fight began again.


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