Britt McHenry's take on the Redskins' cheerleaders led this week's takes.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes! This time around, we’re looking at takes from April 27-May 3.

5. Stephen A. Smith calls Josh Rosen “an idiot,” then amends to “idiotic”:  A lot of hot takes around the NFL draft have centered on UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, criticized for all sorts of odd reasons pre-draft and eventually taken by the Arizona Cardinals 10th overall. That’s lower than many expected for Rosen, who some thought could be the first overall pick at one point, and Rosen was fired up about it, saying there were nine mistakes in the draft before he was picked. While that’s a bit of an uncommon comment, it’s hardly unprecedented for a draft pick, and there are plenty of times where athletes are praised for believing in themselves and questioning the teams that doubted them. On ESPN’s First Take last Friday, though, Stephen A. Smith went off on Rosen for this, first questioning his intelligence in general and then calling this specific comment “idiotic”:

Molly Qerim asks Smith “Do you think Rosen will regret saying this?” and he responds, “Well, yes, I do, because I think he’s an idiot, and I’m going to say that now on national television to this guy, who’s supposed to be so intelligent, his IQ’s supposed to be off the charts. Enough of this already! Forget the fact that he should shut up, because he hasn’t done anything yet. Forget the fact that he should shut up, because you played at UCLA and last time I checked, I hadn’t seen them in the national championship picture.”

“Here’s the biggest reason why I’m calling him an idiot—and let me take that back, I’m not calling him an idiot literally, because of course he’s a smart young man, his intellect is off the charts. I’m calling him idiotic, rather, because you are walking into the National Football League, going up against MEN! In college, in the last 12 months, Max, this guy has suffered two concussions. Let me ask you a question, Josh Rosen, when somebody knocks you upside your head or caves your chest in to the point where you’re gasping for air, when a grown man puts you down, what does that have to do with anything? What are you going to do then?”

What does that have to do with anything indeed. Does Smith think that opposing defenders wouldn’t be eager to hit Rosen if he didn’t say anything? Last we checked, bringing down the opposing quarterback and hitting him hard was generally a point of emphasis regardless of who he is and what he says. And if Smith’s apparent claim that opponents will be even more motivated to go even further to try and hurt Rosen because of comments he made after the draft (which, note that this is over four months before the start of the season) actually proves true, that actually might work out well for Rosen and the Cardinals; if that leads to players going over the line and taking roughing the passer penalties, that could help the team move the ball.

It’s also interesting that Smith brings up UCLA not being in the college national championship picture, as that’s about a team effort rather than one player, and it’s also something that’s true for three of the five first-round quarterbacks (USC made the Rose Bowl and Oklahoma made the Sugar Bowl, so Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield were in the picture, but Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson weren’t). And it’s notable that someone who never shuts up is extending that advice to someone else.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

4. Ben Maller says Raptors should fire Dwane Casey midseries, goes on anti-stats rant to denigrate LeBron’s showing: Fox Sports Radio overnight host Maller dropped quite the take this morning after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 128-110 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 2, arguing that the Raptors should immediately fire head coach Dwane Casey (despite a 59-23 record that was the best in the Eastern Conference, despite a first-round series win over the Washington Wizards, and despite an exceptionally close Game 1 loss in overtime) and that LeBron James’ 43-point, 14-assist, eight-rebound night wasn’t that impressive thanks to Toronto’s play:

“The stat geeks are aroused, they’re so excited, the fanboys that slobber all over LeBron James, oh, they love it, man, this is like porn for them. When LeBron puts up 43 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds, it is essentially internet porn for the stat geeks. They can’t get enough of it. And it was wonderful, it was wonderful, but it was also predictable, right? That was made possible with a grant from the basketball malpractice being conducted by that Canadian outfit in the NBA. The Raptors were physically in the gym, I saw them on my television, they were in the gym, but they had mentally checked out. That was a lifeless performance on defense in the second half and even in the first half, I don’t think they played defense in the entire game. …It is an indictment in a professional basketball setting, if you’re trying to play defense and you’re not chopped liver, and Toronto was the number-one seed in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers had three turnovers in 48 minutes. I’d fire Dwane Casey right now. I would! I’d fire him, I’d unload everybody. If I owned the team, at this point I’d have a meltdown. It’s an indictment, is what it is.”

Well, it’s a good thing you don’t own the team, Ben. This is fun for combining the instant overreaction of a bad sports radio caller after a loss with some needless shots at statistics (and no discernible point to that, as Maller even says James was “wonderful”). And it’s a good thing for Maller that his logic of one bad performance deserving a firing doesn’t extend to himself.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. Salt Lake Tribune letter writer Walt Borla asks “Are the Jazz the only game in town?” Letters to the editor are always enjoyable for some hot takes, and Walt Borla brought one with a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune this week. Thursday, in the middle of the Utah Jazz’s second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Borla wrote in to complain about the paper providing…too much Jazz coverage?

My goodness, are the Utah Jazz the only game in town? Three and four full pages of Jazz coverage in the Sports section is ridiculous.

No space for the Major League Baseball box scores. I for one will be glad to see the Jazz finally wrap it up so we can see something else in the sports pages.

Whatever happened to The Tribune’s coverage of Utah prep sports? All we ever see is one or two games in the Wasatch Front highlighted and that’s it.

We hate to break it to you, Walt, but the Jazz are literally the only game in town, at least when it comes to the four biggest U.S. professional sports. (There’s always MLS and Real Salt Lake.) And it doesn’t seem like a smart decision for the paper to spend less time covering the basketball team in the middle of a playoff run so they can devote more space to running baseball box scores (they have those in the magical series of tubes known as the internet! You should check it out sometime!) and prep sports.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

2. Albert Breer and Mike Sando give anonymous scouts and execs space for ludicrous bashing of Josh Rosen and praise of Josh Allen: Extensively quoting anonymous scouts and execs has plenty of problems, from potential bias to irrelevant comments to just factually-wrong statements. It’s been shown time and time again that these anonymous executives and scouts regularly don’t actually have a lot of insight to offer, and granting them anonymity means that there are no potential repercussions for their comments; if executives comment on players on the record, they at least can be held accountable when they say something dumb.

Or, if we’re going to stick with the anonymous quotes model, maybe the writers receiving those quotes could actually use some discretion on what to print, and leave out anything that’s blatantly factually incorrect or irrelevant. That continues to not be the case, as pieces from The MMQB’s Albert Breer and ESPN.com’s Mike Sando illustrated this week. First, from Breer’s piece, some questionable comments about Rosen:

This one’s great, because Breer not only admits that Rosen likely didn’t have the specific housing situation mentioned by the anonymous evaluator (which is a dumb thing to say anyway, especially considering that plenty of kids of star athletes grew up with wealth and went on to success of their own) but uses that as a knock on him anyway, and then goes on to add his own commentary that Rosen is “spoiled, and entitled, and not made for football life.” Those are some bold claims to make, Albert, and it’s interesting that you require an in-depth forensic investigation and “proof” before you’ll believe that an athlete endured racial slurs, but you’ll toss out claims like “spoiled and entitled” without much to back them up. Oh, and Rosen doesn’t actually have a long driveway:

As Anderson added, that’s not a good metric of who’s going to fail, either:

Meanwhile, Sando’s ESPN.com article (Insider subscription required) also featured some hot takes on Rosen:

“I was hoping they would stay at 15 and get Lamar Jackson, but I don’t have a problem with what they did,” an exec said. “Everybody recognizes the talent with Rosen, but he is not the top guy in the draft because nobody likes him.”

…An exec noted that quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich, already considered future head-coaching material by former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, would become a shooting star if he could help mold Rosen into a success.

“Byron will be good for the kid if Rosen allows it,” an insider said.

This insider then let out a chuckle.

“Byron in about a week will probably want to take a poke at him,” this insider continued. “He’s from f—ing D.C., and he ain’t having a cake eater walk in and act like an a–h—.”

What the hell are you going for with “cake eater”? And “nobody likes him?” Who knew the NFL draft was Mean Girls all over again? It sure seems that way, though, with execs finding all sorts of reasons to dump on Rosen and all sorts of insane reasons to praise Josh Allen, who had some of the worst stats ever for a highly-drafted QB. From later in Sando’s article, here’s this stellar argument:

Oh, he likes football! Well, that’s good. That’s right up there with J.P. Ricciardi’s infamous “Adam Dunn doesn’t like baseball.” (Which, to Ricciardi’s credit, he said on the radio instead of as an anonymous exec, and which he apologized for.) And Allen is listed as 6’5” and 223 pounds, not like the tiny Rosen who was still available at that pick (seventh overall); Rosen checks in as only…6’4” and 218 pounds? Or Lamar Jackson, who’s 6’3” and 216 pounds? Yeah, there’s such a massive size discrepancy there. “Aw shucks” is so important too, as is a prospect’s dress choices of “sweats and tennis shoes.” Oh, and Jim Kelly, who played his college football at a noted cold-weather school…Miami. (And not the one in Ohio.)

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥 for Breer thanks to the “spoiled and entitled” editorializing, 🔥🔥🔥 for Sando

1. Britt McHenry blames Redskins’ cheerleaders for team’s behavior: One of the most disturbing stories of this week came from New York Times piece detailing the way the Washington Redskins treated their cheerleaders on a 2013 photo shoot in Costa Rica, taking their passports so they couldn’t leave and inviting sponsors and suiteholders to watch their topless photo shoot, plus requiring the cheerleaders to escort the men to a nightclub and not paying them for any of this. That, and the other stories in the piece, illustrate a key problem with the team’s behavior; it went well beyond what the women thought they were agreeing to. But former ESPN reporter and current conservative talking head Britt McHenry argued that they deserved it because they signed up to wear revealing outlets at games:

McHenry then doubled down in a radio interview with Clay Travis:

There can be plenty of debate about the merits of SI’s Swimsuit Issue, but they haven’t (to my knowledge) been accused of letting random sponsors watch topless photo shoots up close, or of taking their models’ passports, or of having their models do unpaid work they weren’t expecting. And that’s what this really comes down to. Women choosing to be cheerleaders, or even choosing to wear any sort of revealing clothing in general, doesn’t mean that any and all treatment of them is suddenly fair. McHenry’s own Instagram account, which has plenty of revealing photos, is a case in point. Just because she chooses to post, say, a bathing suit photo, doesn’t mean that she has consented to men watching her topless, or that she’s going to escort someone to a nightclub at the request of a team. And it’s a pity that she can’t extend that same courtesy to the cheerleaders.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Hot Take Standings:

Stephen A. Smith – 196
Skip Bayless – 147
Phil Mushnick – 129
Colin Cowherd – 54
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Rob Parker – 29
Doug Gottlieb – 22
Ray Lewis – 21
Albert Breer – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Don Cherry – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Chris Broussard – 13
Dan Dakich – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Jason McIntyre – 11
Michael DeCourcy – 11
Britt McHenry – 10
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
Ben Maller – 8
Steve Simmons – 8
Dan Shaughnessy – 8
Frank Isola – 8
Michael Rapaport – 8
Tony Massarotti – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
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
Darren Rovell – 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
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
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.