Labor negotiations end with no resolution in sight
NBA labor talks broke down Thursday after three days of meetings failed to yield a deal to end a 112-day lockout, raising the likelihood that even more games will be canceled in an already fractured season. After 30 hours of negotiations before a federal mediator, the sides remained divided over two main issues — the division of revenues and the structure of the salary-cap system.
"Ultimately, we were unable to bridge the gap that separates the two parties," NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said. (Commissioner David Stern has the flu and did not attend Thursday's negotiating session.) "We understand the ramifications of where we are."
Union President Derek Fisher said players realized the ripple effect of the stalemate.
"This is not in any way about ego," he said. "There are a lot of people's livelihoods at stake, separate from us."
Without a deal, Stern probably will decide more games must be dropped. The season was supposed to begin Nov. 1, but all games through Nov. 14 — 100 in total — have been scrapped, costing players about $170 million in salaries.
■ Silver called Bryant Gumbel's comments on HBO about Stern "outrageous." In his closing commentary on Tuesday's Real Sports, the longtime TV host said Stern had "always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys."
PGA starting Latin American tour
The PGA Tour is launching a developmental tour south of the border, hoping it can expand its presence in South America as golf prepares to become an Olympic sport again in 2016 in Brazil. The "PGA Tour Latinoamerica" will start next year, featuring 11 tournaments that will be played in seven countries, most of them in South America but including Mexico and Puerto Rico. The tournaments will have 144-man fields consisting primarily of players from the region, although there probably will be some access for Americans who now play the mini-tours. The top players on the Latin American tour then will have access to the Nationwide Tour. Tournaments are to be played next year from September through December in Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.
Donald part of crowd on top at Disney
Luke Donald figured he might have to win at Disney to have his best shot at capturing the PGA Tour money title. He took a good step Thursday in the Children's Miracle Network Classic with a 6-under 66 for a seven-way share of the lead in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Donald is playing the opening two rounds with Webb Simpson, whose runner-up finish last week at Sea Island gave him a $363,029 lead in the money list. Simpson also played bogey-free on the easier Palm course for a 68. With so much attention at the top, it's even more critical at the bottom as players try to finish in the top 125 on the money list to keep full status for next year. James Driscoll is at No. 125, and he was among those who opened with a 66 to tie for the lead.
125 ex-players suing over head injuries
More than 125 former pro football players are suing the NFL — and, in most cases, helmet-maker Riddell — via at least five complaints brought in state or federal courts over the past few months and as recently as last week. They say the NFL should have done more to warn about the dangers of head injuries and should do more to help retired players. There also are at least three personal-injury cases against the NFL pending in California, along with a case filed in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania. They're believed to be the first examples of former players joining together to file concussion-related lawsuits against the NFL. Many players' wives also are plaintiffs.
Report: Lions' Harrison has brain tumor
ESPN is reporting that Lions running back Jerome Harrison has a brain tumor. The network cited two NFL sources it did not identify in Thursday's report. It says the tumor was revealed when Harrison had a physical after being dealt this week by Detroit to the Eagles in a trade that was voided by the discovery. Lions Coach Jim Schwartz wouldn't confirm or deny the report, citing a privacy issue. He said Harrison was back on the team's 53-man roster. The Lions wanted to trade Harrison to Philadelphia for Ronnie Brown and a draft pick. Detroit needs help because Jahvid Best had his third concussion on Sunday. Lions running back Maurice Morris said Thursday he's preparing for his next game just as he would any other even though he will almost certainly carry a heavier load. Schwartz said Best will be back as soon as he gets clearance.
■ Ralph Wilson Stadium requires an extensive facelift expected to cost tens of millions in taxpayer dollars for a project that would be tied to the Bills' renewing their lease with state and county governments within two years, Bills CEO Russ Brandon told The Associated Press. He said the team has hired architectural firm Populous, which specializes in sports-facility projects, to conduct a thorough study of what improvements are necessary to upgrade the stadium's existing structure and add fan-friendly, revenue-generating enhancements.
■ Browns starting linebacker Scott Fujita was sent home for a second straight day Thursday with post-concussion symptoms. Fujita was injured in Sunday's game against Oakland. The team sent him home on Wednesday and again Thursday before practice. Coach Pat Shurmur did not rule Fujita out of this week's game against Seattle, but it seems unlikely the 10-year veteran will be cleared to play.
Wheldon's public funeral Saturday
Funeral services for two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon will be held Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Wheldon was killed Sunday in the IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas. In a statement released by IndyCar, Wheldon's widow, Susie, thanked fans for the "outpouring of sympathy and condolences" and invited the public to attend the service. IndyCar also will hold a public memorial service Sunday afternoon at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
■ NASCAR is providing all its teams a decal that honors Wheldon to place on their cars this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The decal is of the Lionheart Knight image that Wheldon affixed to the back of his helmets. NASCAR is also producing a helmet decal for any drivers who would like to use them.
UK tennis men open strong at Ohio Valley
The Kentucky men's tennis team went 5-2 in singles play and 6-1 in doubles play on the opening day of the Ohio Valley Regional Championships in Knoxville on Thursday. Singles action continues with the second and third round on Friday.
■ Coming off its first national championship in program history, the UK rifle team opens its season Friday against Great America Rifle Conference foe Mississippi at Barker Hall. Kentucky won the combined categories and smallbore national championship in 2010-11.
■ Louisville baseball's 2011-12 recruiting class was ranked 12th best in the nation by Baseball America on Thursday. Vanderbilt was ranked No. 1 and was joined by seven other SEC schools in the top 25 (Mississippi, 5; South Carolina, 6; Mississippi State, 14; Florida, 15; Georgia, 21; Arkansas, 22; Alabama, 24). This is the fourth straight season Louisville has signed a top-25 recruiting class.
The last word
New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan knew he messed up Wednesday as soon as he said, "I would have had a couple of rings," if the Chargers had hired him as coach in 2007. The comments were taken as a slight at Chargers Coach Norv Turner, who was hired instead and hasn't yet won a Super Bowl in San Diego. Turner immediately received an apologetic phone call from Ryan. But Turner got in a little jab of his own Wednesday when asked about Ryan's comments:
"I didn't have a chance to ask him this, but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he's guaranteed the last couple of years."