ESPN columnist Bill Simmons joined the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about his most recent column that indicates he's not as interested in the Red Sox this season. "I don't remember a Red Sox season like this, where I've never had less Red Sox conversations with my friends or my family or whatever," he said. "It's tough to get through the games," he added, complaining about how long the games last.

 

ESPN explained and defended its reasoning for pulling its story on LeBron James' exploits in Las Vegas.

With the recent deaths of George Steinbrenner and Jack Tatum, that got us thinking about the biggest villains in Boston sports history. There were plenty of names to consider, and apologies to Matt Cooke, but we came with 10 individuals who inspire even more negative emotion among local fans. Check out our list at the LEEInks blog.

Wednesday's big controversy was the story about LeBron James' experiences in Las Vegas that was published and then removed from the ESPN website. ESPN claims the story, which did not paint James in a particularly impressive light, was not properly cleared. Others suggest that LeBron's people had it pulled because they didn't like the way their star was portrayed. Read more about that — and check out the pulled story — at Thursday's Morning Mashup.

Former Raiders defensive back Jack Tatum, who capitalized on his reputation as a head-hunter and reveled in injuring opposing players, has his supporters. A day after Tatum's death at the age of 61, some paid tribute to the man who never reconciled with Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley, left paralyzed after a preseason hit from Tatum in 1978. Read more about that, plus check out videos (featuring a memorable soccer celebration), trivia and more, at Wednesday's Morning Mashup.

Lane Kiffin should have known better when he decided to tread on Tennessee territory. The former University of Tennessee coach, who became Public Enemy No. 1 in the Volunteer State for the way he left the Vols after just one season to take over at USC, is being sued by the Tennessee Titans for luring assistant coach Kennedy Pola from the NFL team.

Cowboys first-round draft pick Dez Bryant wants no part of some basic rookie hazing at the team's training camp. On Sunday, Bryant refused to carry veteran wide receiver Roy Williams' pads after practice, stating: "I'm not doing it. I feel like I was drafted to play football, not carry another player's pads." Responded Williams: "Everybody has to go through it. I had to go through it. No matter if you're a No.

Former Red Sox left fielder Jason Bay continues to struggle in New York, and the Mets sat down their prized free agent Thursday night as they were shut out by the Dodgers for their seventh loss in the eighth game of their disastrous 11-game road trip. Bay is batting .169 in July and has six home runs on the season. Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he hoped getting away from New York for a couple of weeks would help Bay. "I am somewhat surprised [by Bay],” said Manuel, whose team has not scored in 17 innings.

On the heels of its announcement that it's returning the Heisman Trophy awarded to Reggie Bush, USC is rewriting its record books to reflect the sanctions handed down by the NCAA. The school will add "about 100 asterisks" to its media guide with an explanation that the teams' accomplishments in the mid-2000s were "later vacated due to NCAA penalty." Meanwhile, the Downtown Athletic Club is trying to decide if it should remove Bush as the official winner of the 2005 Heisman.

Paul McGowan scored the decisive goal in extra penalty kicks as Celtic F.C. defeated Sporting Club de Portugal before 32,162 in the inaugural Fenway Football Challenge Wednesday night at Fenway Park. McGowan's goal came just moments after Liedson's shot went over everything and into the right field grandstands, giving Celtic the 6-5 edge in penalty kicks.