This Week In Hot Takes for May 18-24.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes, this time looking at the hottest sports media takes from May 18-24.

5. Darren Rovell says Vegas Golden Knights are nowhere near Leicester City because of…Jamie Vardy’s salary?: There’s been plenty of discussion about the Vegas Golden Knights advancing to the Stanley Cup final in their first season of existence, one of the most impressive underdog performance across sports considering that their title odds started at 500-1. Of course, there are showings from even bigger underdogs, such as 5,000-1 Leicester City in the Premier League in 2016 (even if those odds were significantly inflated over their mathematical chances to get people to bet). But Darren Rovell, ESPN’s expert at reducing everything to dollars and cents, decided to rain on the Vegas parade, and did so not even by referencing the odds, but by referencing Leicester player Jamie Vardy’s salary eight years before:

That’s not a great comparison. For one thing, Golden Knights’ players like Nate Schmidt were making $0 a week eight years ago in the NCAA. For another, yes, Vardy started his career at Stocksbridge Park Steels F.C. in the eighth level of the English football league system and made very little there, but that was when he was in his teens, and he moved to the fifth level by 20 and joined Leicester (then in the Championship, the second level) by 25. And while Vardy’s story is one of the most remarkable, he’s far from alone in the lists of players to start their careers at small clubs. But the really absurd thing here is claiming that it’s the weekly wages of one player eight years earlier that make it obvious that the Leicester story is a bigger upset, and shouting that in ALL CAPS like that makes it self-evident. Athletes aren’t always paid what they’re worth, and one player’s salary is not the crucial element here. Rovell’s probably right that Leicester was a bigger upset, but he’s using terrible logic to argue that point.

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Albert Breer argues that no NFL evaluator thinks Colin Kaepernick can start: We’ve often complained about the amount of publicity given to the views of anonymous executives and scouts, given that they have biases and agendas that can impact their comments and given that there are no consequences for an anonymous quote. Albert Breer of The MMQB is one guy who’s been leading the “Colin Kaepernick isn’t being blackballed, he’s just not good” train for a long while, and this week, he brought in the views of some anonymous executives to support that:

It’s unclear if Breer actually surveyed all NFL evaluators there or if that’s an extrapolation from the people he talked to, but either way, this isn’t a smart comment from executives, and it’s not a smart argument for Breer to advance. Kaepernick’s 2016 adjusted net yards per attempt, which only considers his passing ability, was better than the 2017 performances put up by 10 teams’ best quarterbacks, and was similar to seven more. But even if teams didn’t want him as a starter, it’s quite clear that his on-field performance is better than many second- or third-string quarterbacks that have been signed.

There are other reasons why Kaepernick hasn’t been signed, specifically worries about him being a “distraction,” and whether those reasons are enough for every single team to not sign him will be explored in his collusion case against the NFL. But arguing that Kaepernick isn’t good enough to be a NFL starter is absurd, especially given the quality we’ve seen from many starters, and it’s only serving to advance the league’s argument that there’s no collusion here. If Breer can demand proof that fans yelled racist taunts at Adam Jones, shouldn’t he be demanding some proof that Kaepernick isn’t actually good despite all the stats that say he is? Oh, and this isn’t the first time Breer’s tried to diminish Kapernick with anonymous quotes and opinions of dubious merit, so it falls into a nice pattern for him.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. Rob Parker says “I blame LeBron 100 percent for the loss”: Yes, Rob “Is he a brother or a cornball brother?” Parker still has a sports media job at FS1, and yes, he’s still making absurd arguments. Here’s one from Undisputed Thursday, where Parker said that the Cavs’ 96-83 Game 5 loss to the Celtics (where LeBron James had 26 points, Kevin Love had 14, and no other Cleveland player reached double digits) was the fault of James.

“I blame LeBron 100 percent for the loss.” Shannon Sharpe’s “For real?” is a nice interjection, and Parker then goes, “Yes, for real! And you know what, Shannon, I know you’re going to bring up the supporting cast, Kevin Love the only other one who had over double digits, I get all that, but LeBron knew all that too coming in, Skip. And I’ve seen LeBron deliver big Game Fives on the road when it mattered. …This was subpar! This game was not what they needed in this situation! He’s out, he’s fatigued, he looks like he’s uninterested.”

No one’s going to argue that this game wasn’t James’ best performance, but blaming him for the loss is a heck of a stretch considering how poorly most of his supporting cast played. He hit 11 of 22 shots from the field, while Love hit six of 13 and the other three Cavs’ starters combined went two for 14. And singling him out here is typical LeBron-bashing, and typically dumb from Parker.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

2. Britt McHenry argues that Colin Kaepernick donated his salary as a tax write-off to “play you”: Former ESPN reporter turned Fox 5 DC conservative talking head Britt McHenry has dropped plenty of hot takes, but this one stood out:

It even got criticism from former NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, a self-described conservative and regular Fox News viewer:

That’s quite the hot take from McHenry, but very much in keeping with her usual standards.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Skip Bayless calls the Celtics “overrated,” says they “got exposed for what they were: The many lopsided games in these NBA playoffs have led to some hilarious overreactions about the state of each series, and one of the best comes from Fox’s Skip Bayless. On Undisputed Tuesday following the Cavs tying the series at two with a 111-102 win, Bayless called the Celtics “overrated” and said they “got exposed”:

That quote was so crazy Fox put it on a graphic:

Bayless then doubled down further on Twitter:

And he repeated this in another segment:

“I heard one analyst after after another say the Celtics are just better than the Cavaliers, and I’m like, no, they’re not!”

That decisive Celtics’ win in Game 5 makes these comments look pretty silly, especially considering that Bayless is mostly doing this to degrade LeBron’s accomplishments (a running theme for him). And yes, absolutely, the Cavs can still win the series. But even if they do, it will be against a good team, and a team that’s given them all that they can handle. Not one “exposed for what they were.”

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Hot Take Standings:

Stephen A. Smith – 201
Skip Bayless – 161
Phil Mushnick – 132
Colin Cowherd – 59
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Rob Parker – 33
Albert Breer – 23
Doug Gottlieb – 22
Ray Lewis – 21
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Britt McHenry – 15
Don Cherry – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Dan Shaughnessy – 13
Chris Broussard – 13
Dan Dakich – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Ben Maller – 12
Tony Massarotti – 11
Jason McIntyre – 11
Michael DeCourcy – 11
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Ross Tucker – 9
Keith Olbermann – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Steve Simmons – 8
Frank Isola – 8
Michael Rapaport – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Darren Rovell – 7
Andy Benoit – 7
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
Danny Kanell – 7
Pat Leonard – 6
Mike Francesa – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Christine Flowers – 5
Jason Lieser – 5
John Steigerwald – 5
Josh Peter – 5
Alexi Lalas  – 5
Greg Gabriel  – 5
John Moody  – 5
Marni Soupcoff – 5
Ryan Rishaug – 5
Kurtis Larson  – 5
Rod Watson  – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Chuck Modiano – 5
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 5
Michael Felger – 5
Howard Eskin – 5
Nancy Armour – 5
Richard Justice – 5
John Middlekauff – 5
Ameer Hasan Loggins – 5
Jesse Watters – 5
John McGrath – 5
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 5
Mike Bianchi – 5
Terry Frei – 5
David Jones – 5
Sabrina Parr – 5
Abbey Mastracco – 5
Terry Cushman – 5
Rob Rossi – 5
Rick Bozich – 5
Michael O’Doherty – 5
Simon Briggs – 5
Dan Wetzel – 5
Mike Parry – 5
Bob Ryan – 5
Robert Reed – 5
Pete Dougherty – 5
Dan Le Batard – 5
Marcus Hayes – 5
Kyle Turley – 5
Mike Ditka – 5
Erril Laborde – 5
Lowell Cohn – 5
Rosie DiManno – 5
Mark Kiszla – 4
Greg Witter – 4
Myron Medcalf  – 4
Bill Polian – 4
MJ Franklin – 4
Alex Reimer – 4
Joan Vennochi – 4
Graham Couch – 4
Matt Yglesias – 4
Bill Livingston – 4
Michael Irvin – 4
Shawn Windsor – 4
Brock Huard – 4
Byron Tau – 4
Maggie Gray – 4
Michael Powell – 4
Mark Spector – 4
Chad Forbes – 4
Gary Myers – 4
Mark Schlereth – 4
Andy Gray – 4
David Fleming – 4
The Sporting News – 4
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Kirk Herbstreit – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
Mike Felger – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Steve Rosenbloom – 3
Stephen Jackson – 3
Mike Sando – 3
Walt Borla – 3
Chris Russo  – 3
Nick Cafardo – 3
Ice Cube – 3
Cathal Kelly – 3
Justin Peters – 3
Elise Finch – 3
Kevin Skiver  – 3
David Bahnsen – 3
Harold Reynolds – 3
Kevin Reynolds – 3
Mike Sheahan – 3
Bob Ford – 3
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 3
Jason Smith – 3
Caron Butler – 3
Don Brennan – 3
Robert Tychkowski – 3
Mike Johnston – 3
Jeff Mans – 3
Joe Browne – 3
Mike Harrington – 3
Greg Mitchell – 3
Ron Cook – 2
Brian Kenny – 2
Barrett Sallee – 2
Craig Calcaterra – 2
Max Kellerman – 2
Gareth Wheeler – 2
John Cornyn – 2
Tony Dungy – 2
Bruce Jenkins – 2
Chris Wesseling – 2
Seth Greenberg – 2
Doug Smith – 2
Newsweek – 2
Teddy Cutler – 2
Will Cain – 2
Bill Cowher – 2
Paul Finebaum – 2
Charley Casserly – 2
Amin Elhassan – 2
Jim Henneman – 2
Mitch Lawrence – 2
Nick Wright – 2
Domonique Foxworth – 2
Gary Parrish – 2
Michael Farber – 2
Andy Furman – 2
Donovan McNabb – 2
Seth Davis – 2
Jon Heyman – 2
Jason La Canfora – 2
Booger McFarland – 2
Joe Schad – 2
Cork Gaines – 2

Thanks for reading! Tune in next week for more This Week In Hot Takes. As always, you can send submissions to me via e-mail or on Twitter.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.