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Volume 24 No. 155
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People & Personalities: Bill Simmons Withdraws His NBA MVP Vote

BUSINESS INSIDERS’ Jay Yarow reported ESPN's Bill Simmons has “withdrawn his vote of LeBron James as MVP of the NBA due to a conflict of interest involving a bet he made on the award.” Simmons before the NBA season started said on his “B.S. Report” podcast that he “made a bet on James winning the MVP award.” ESPN said that Simmons “withdrew his ballot this week.” ESPN in a statement said, "Bill had never received a ballot before and didn't find out he had one until two-thirds of the season had passed. By that time he had made multiple MVP bets, two of which he had discussed on podcasts. He ended up withdrawing his MVP vote to avoid the perception of any conflict" (, 5/3).

MISSING IN ACTION: In Boston, Chad Finn reports Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy will “miss his sixth straight game Friday because of what NESN says is a sinus infection.” He will miss “five more games, with the target date for a return set at next Thursday.” But sources said that they “would be surprised if he returns then.” Dennis Eckersley and Peter Gammons “will fill in alongside” play-by-play voice Don Orsillo in Remy's absence. Finn writes the “reaction to tuning in to a NESN Red Sox telecast and realizing someone other than Jerry Remy is handling the color is practically second nature by now.” The pattern has “become all too familiar in recent seasons,” as Remy has “dealt with health matters that have caused him to miss portions of the schedule.” For the “third April in the past four, Remy is absent because of illness” (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/4).

PAR FOR THE COURSE: The BBC's Peter Alliss will be inducted on Monday into the World Golf HOF, and GOLFWEEK’s Alistair Tait notes Alliss sees things "that often elude other commentators.” Alliss “never planned a TV career,” but that changed in ’60 when he “received a letter from the BBC asking Alliss to comment on the 1961 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.” Alliss has “endured because of his unique perspective.” He "offers enlightened doses of hard reality” (GOLFWEEK, 5/4 issue)....USA TODAY’s Michael McCarthy reports former CBS golf analyst Lanny Wadkins is “returning to TV after a five-year absence with the Golf Channel.” He will “serve as the lead analyst" for Golf Channel’s coverage of the Champions Tour Insperity Championship in Houston this weekend. Golf Channel Senior Dir of PR Dan Higgins describes Wadkins' role as a “one-time appearance for now.” However, McCarthy writes Wadkins “could go full time” (USA TODAY, 5/4).

SPICING IT UP: In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald noted Fox' Gus Johnson has broadcast a handful of MLS Earthquakes games this season, and when asked how broadcasting soccer compares to broadcasting college football and college basketball, Johnson said, “It’s a lot different. For me, because I didn’t have any experience, and now I have limited experience, it’s almost like learning a new language. But I think some of the same principles apply.” He added, “Some of the same words are applicable, but there’s a lot of different terminology that I’m still trying to get used to, and train my brain to be able to recognize when I see it.” Johnson said he and Fox have “talked about" him potentially broadcasting soccer, but he said that is “not an easy task.” Johnson: “That's not something you just jump into at that level. I think that doing these (Earthquakes) games for the whole summer will show me whether or not I have the right stuff to do it” (, 4/30).

NOTES: Former Univ. of Florida QB Chris Leak has joined SiriusXM’s 24/7 college sports channel. Leak will host “College Sports Coast-to-Coast” multiple nights each week with Chris Childers (, 4/2)....ESPN college basketball analyst Hubert Davis has left the network to become an assistant coach with the Univ. of North Carolina men's basketball team (, 4/2).