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Oct. 4, 2011 at 11:00 PM
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NBA talks break off with no agreement

NEW YORK, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Negotiations between NBA team owners and locked-out players broke down Tuesday, endangering the scheduled Nov. 1 start of the 2011-12 season.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said the rest of the pre-season schedule would be canceled because of the lack of a new agreement, NBA.com reported.

He added, "by Monday, we will have no choice but to cancel the first two weeks of the season," resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

"We gave it a real good run and it didn't work," he said.

No further bargaining sessions have been scheduled, NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter said.

"There has been no discussion about next meetings. Maybe a month. Two months," he said. "Your guess is as good as mine. As of this moment, we've broken off the negotiations."

"Today was not the day to get this done," added union President Derek Fisher.

Fisher, joined by fellow players Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ben Gordon, said the union had reduced its demand for a league-wide share of revenues from 57 percent to 53 percent, but it wasn't enough.

Owners, who say the NBA needs a financial restructuring to survive, are reportedly seeking to cut the players' share to 46 percent and want to institute a stricter salary cap.

Williams apologizes for Hitler comments

NEW YORK, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Country music singer Hank Williams Jr. issued an apology Tuesday after comparing U.S. President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler in a television interview.

The performer's remarks on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" show Monday resulted in a controversy and prompted sports broadcaster ESPN to cut his trademark "Are You Ready For Some Football?" opening song from its "Monday Night Football" broadcast.

During the Fox News segment, Williams made the comparison when talking about Obama playing golf on the same team with Republican House Speaker John Boehner during a June outing.

"I have always been very passionate about politics and sports and this time it got the best or worst of me," Williams said in a statement.

"The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin' and high fiven' on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by, simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement, and I am very sorry if it offended anyone.

"I would like to thank all my supporters. This was not written by some publicist," Williams wrote.

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League earlier Tuesday condemned Williams' comments on Fox, CNN reported.

Rangers put Sean Avery on waivers

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The New York Rangers have placed feisty forward Sean Avery on waivers, Coach John Tortorella said Tuesday in Sweden.

Avery, known as an "agitator" for his aggressive play and controversial comments, would be eligible for demotion to the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate in Hartford if he isn't claimed within 24 hours.

Tortorella said the Rangers have "better players" available than the 31-year-old forward.

"I don't want to jam up Sean here -- I think we have better players than Sean Avery, plain and simple," Tortorella told the New York Daily News as the team prepared to open its season Friday against the Los Angeles Kings in Stockholm.

"I can dodge it 10 different ways, without trying to run Sean over. I thought he had a good camp. But I think with the makeup of our team, and some of the people we've added, and some of the youth we've added, as far as depth, put Sean in this spot."

New York claimed Avery off waivers from Dallas in March 2009 after the Stars had signed him to a four-year, $15.5 million deal.

He notched three goals, 21 assists and 174 penalty minutes in 76 games last season.

Missouri's Bowers hurts knee, out for year

COLUMBIA, Mo., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- University of Missouri senior forward Laurence Bowers will miss the upcoming basketball season after tearing a knee ligament, Coach Frank Haith said Tuesday.

Bowers, who averaged 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds last season in 27 starts, sustained the injury during a pick-up game Monday, The Kansas City Star reported.

"This is just difficult news for an outstanding young man and representative of our athletics department," Haith said in the release. "I have had a chance to talk with Laurence a few times and he is doing well.

"I know he is anxious to get started on his rehabilitation and he will continue to be a big part of the 2011-2012 team."

Calling the All-Big-12 player "one of our best defenders," Haith said his primary concern was not the effect on the Tigers but on helping Bowers "through the recovery process."

The senior has a year of red-shirt eligibility remaining and could play for the Tigers next season, the newspaper said.

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