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Settlement in Watson, Fan Case

April 27, 2000

BALTMORE (AP) _ New York Yankees pitcher Allen Watson and the 16-year-old Baltimore Orioles fan he is accused of throwing baseballs at reached an out-of-court settlement Thursday, minutes before a trial on assault charges was to start.

Charles Robbins of Arlington, Va., claimed Watson threw two balls at his 16-year-old daughter, Cheryl, because Watson objected to a sign she was holding. Neither ball struck the teen during batting practice at Camden Yards on Sept. 28.

Court documents say Yankees reliever Jeff Nelson then took the offending sign from the girl and ripped it apart.

Robbins and Watson both declined to speak to reporters after the settlement was announced.

``I’m not going to really comment,″ Watson said as he left the courthouse.

Nelson, who was not charged but appeared at the courthouse, also was tightlipped.

``I can’t say anything. You know I wish I could,″ he said.

The father and daughter had also filed a civil suit against the Yankees. Gregory Angst, Robbins’ attorney, said it would be safe to assume the suit would be dropped.

Before the trial was to begin, Robbins said he and his daughter were standing by the outfield wall during batting practice. Cheryl Robbins said she was holding a sign with an anti-Yankee slogan, which hung partially over the top of the outfield wall.

Watson, who was warming up in the outfield, threw two balls, hitting the sign, but not striking the girl. Nelson then ran up, grabbed the sign, ripped it up and threw the pieces back at her, striking her in the chest, Cheryl Robbins said.

Her father said he was ``shocked that somebody would do something like that, over freedom of speech, really.″

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