Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes, this time covering the hottest sports media takes from July 27-Aug 2.

5. Ed Werder responds to Torrey Smith’s anti-incarceration shirt with “We need more and better parenting too”: Former ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder wades into some interesting waters on Twitter sometimes, such as going after Sports Illustrated‘s Charlotte Wilder for daring to offer advice to women hoping to work at SI. Werder again missed the point of someone else’s tweet this week, responding to Carolina Panthers’ receiver Torrey Smith’s #SchoolsNotPrisons anti-incarceration shirt and tweet with a take on parenting:

Can parenting be important to children’s futures? Of course. But bringing that into the conversation Smith is trying to have about the racial inequalities in education access and in incarceration is completely misguided at best, and an attempt to distract from Smith’s actual message at worst. And there’s also a long and problematic history of politicians suggesting that minorities aren’t disadvantaged thanks to racism, but thanks to “absent fathers,” and whether or not Werder was specifically trying to channel that, his comments are going to bring that to mind for many. This wasn’t the best tweet from him.

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Skip Bayless gets mad that LeBron James dunked at his son’s game, but not in a NBA dunk contest: It must be the dog days of summer, because Skip is stretching even more than usual for vaguely sports-related hot takes:

“Finally, after 15 seasons, LeBron James finally participated in and won a dunk contest…against 13-year-olds! …I’m saying when I saw this last night, ‘What are you doing, LeBron?!’ I nearly fell off my chair, I thought ‘Is this somehow Photoshop, CGI, Mission: Impossible stuff?’ No, it happened! It was just so pathetically wrong on so many levels.”

No, what’s just so pathetically wrong on so many levels is that a 66-year-old man spends his morning yelling about LeBron James daring to dunk at his son’s game, and daring to choose not to participate in NBA All-Star game Dunk contests. This is yet more proof that Bayless can take anything LeBron does and turn it into a criticism. To borrow from Douglas Adams, if it was LeBron inventing the wheel, Bayless would be one of the people arguing that he’d made it the wrong color.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. Rob Parker is back on his acronyms: Speaking of pointless Fox talking heads looking for things to complain about, here’s “Journalist of the Year” (or, as Colin Cowherd more accurately describes him in this clip, “The FS1 Instigator”) Rob Parker going off on Kevin Durant as “The MSOAT, The Most Sensitive Of All Time” (around the 4:45 mark, after starting with some complaints about Carmelo Anthony):

“It makes no sense, and you just said it. The guy’s won two championships, two MVPs in the finals, and instead of people thinking of him as the second-best in the league, he is officially the M.S.O.A.T, the Most Sensitive Of All Time. Because he is that guy, Colin. He’s got a burner phone. Who has a burner phone who has two MVPs in the NBA Finals? Who cares if Johnny in his basement, eating french fries and drinking a Dr. Pepper, doesn’t like you or says something that you’ve got to respond back to him. Kevin Durant should be in Europe on vacation, someone should be feeding him grapes. That’s what he should be doing! What kind of life are you living where you’re worrying about the fans and what they’re saying, or about the sportswriters?”

Look, yes, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Durant’s feuds with other NBA players and regular fans on Twitter aren’t necessarily always the most productive use of his time. But Parker takes that and goes a mile further, making this argument in an over-the-top and ridiculous way, from the acronym (one of many absurd acronyms he’s dropped) to the “feeding him grapes.” And it should be noted that maybe Durant keeps an eye on criticism thanks to all the ridiculous criticisms of him, especially from media members who should know better? Also, this particular move from Durant came not in response to “Johnny in his basement,” but to Portland Trail Blazers’ guard C.J. McCollum, who called Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors “soft” on Twitter, shortly after Durant had guested on his podcast. That’s not exactly the most unreasonable thing for Durant to get upset about. And Parker’s outrage about this suggests that perhaps the M.S.O.A.T is a better label for him than Durant.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

2. Joe Simpson goes off on the Dodgers’ batting practice t-shirts and shorts: This rant from Atlanta Braves’ TV analyst Joe Simpson last Saturday is certainly the hottest take we’ve ever seen on batting practice attire:

“You know I grew up in the Dodger organization, and certainly was taught how to play professional baseball and how to do things the right way. I want you to look at some things going on today at batting practice here with the Dodgers. What do you see? You see t-shirts, you see Chase Utley with no socks, pants up over his knees, a t-shirt. This was prevalent with their whole team.”

“And I think about fans that come to SunTrust Park who are Dodgers’ fans, they have no idea who any of them are, nobody had any kind of uniform on or batting practice shirt with their name on their jersey. They looked very unprofessional. And I think I can say this because I know what the Dodger organization is all about.”

…“And if I were a Dodger fan, I’d be embarrassed. And I don’t know how Major League Baseball allows such attire when the gates are open and fans are watching. Chase Utley, I’ve had nothing but respect for him his whole career, I think he’s a great player, I thought he always played the game the right way. That was an embarrassment, what he had on during batting practice.”

An easy way to sum that one up is from another Simpson:

Old man yells at cloud.

Simpson managed to tick off Dodgers’ players and manager Dave Roberts with this one, and he also managed to record one of the hottest takes of the week.

Rating:  🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Doug Gottlieb is still fighting the Greg Schiano wars, also thinks Larry Bird is better than LeBron: Fox Sports Radio hot-take artist Gottlieb was up to his usual antics this week, with one particularly spicy take coming on Twitter after it was announced that Ohio State had put Urban Meyer on paid leave and named co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day as acting head coach, not associate head coach/defensive coordinator Greg Schiano or co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.

It’s not particularly the outrage that “tainted” Schiano and led to him losing the Tennessee job shortly after landing it, but rather secondhand allegations from Mike McQueary that Schiano claimed to have seen abuse at Penn State, plus complaints about his treatment of players at Rutgers and in the NFL. And there’s the whole lack of success thing; Schiano was 68-67 overall at Rutgers, which yes, is nice for that program, but doesn’t exactly scream guaranteed success elsewhere, and he went 4-8 in his second-to-last season there (2010). He was also 11-21 in the NFL, including a 4-12 2013 campaign which pretty much ended with a player revolt. That was his last head coaching stint, and it’s not exactly something that screams success.

And much of the Tennessee outrage was about the hiring of such a problematic coach with an uninspiring record. Why shouldn’t their fans again be happy that Schiano didn’t receive a prominent job, especially after many media members tried to insist that Tennessee fans were “hypocrites” and “idiot protesters” for not wanting to have their school led by such a questionable choice? (They wound up with Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt instead, and that’s a much more inspiring hire.) Gottlieb’s take here is dumb, and it doesn’t offer any compelling reason why Tennessee fans shouldn’t be happy Schiano isn’t getting another head-coaching job. But it’s maybe not even the most questionable argument Gottlieb made this week:

In perhaps his best season (1984-85, when he was 28), Bird averaged 28.7 points (on .522 shooting), 10.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. James’ career averages are 27.2 (.504), 7.4, 7.2, so not far off. His best season could be one of any number, such as 2007-08’s 30.0 (.484)/7.9/7.2, 2009-10’s 29.7(.503), 7.3/8.6, or last year’s 27.5(.542)/8.6/9.1, and all of those have a pretty strong case as better than Bird’s peak; Bird has a rebounding edge and a shooting percentage edge, James notched more assists. And that’s before bringing defense into the mix. But sure, Doug, Bird was better.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Hot Take Standings: 

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 208
Skip Bayless – 183
Phil Mushnick – 142
Colin Cowherd – 66
Rob Parker – 44
Doug Gottlieb – 38
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Albert Breer – 23
Ray Lewis – 21
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Dan Shaughnessy – 17
Ben Maller – 15
Don Cherry – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Chris Broussard – 13
Dan Dakich – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Darren Rovell – 12
John Middlekauff – 11
Andy Benoit – 11
Tony Massarotti – 11
Jason McIntyre – 11
Michael DeCourcy – 11
Keith Olbermann – 11
Danny Kanell – 10
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
The Sporting News – 9
Mike Francesa – 9
Ross Tucker – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Steve Simmons – 8
Frank Isola – 8
Michael Rapaport – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
Pat Leonard – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Joe Simpson – 5
Michael McCarthy – 5
Mike “The Reputation Doctor®”  Paul – 5
Dennis Dodd – 5
Rich Lowry – 5
Chris Reed – 5
San Diego Union-Tribune – 5
David Hookstead – 5
Tomm Looney – 5
Alex Shaw – 5
Rick Reilly – 5
Randall Mell – 5
Ian O’Connor – 5
Michael Bamberger – 5
Bob Bubka – 5
Cathal Kelly – 5
Pete Prisco – 5
Damien Cox – 5
Bill Simons – 5
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
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
Evan Roberts – 4
Corbin Smith  – 4
DJ Siddiqi  – 4
The Express  – 4
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
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
Buck Lanford – 3
John Feinstein – 3
Stan Fischler – 3
Sonnie Wooden – 3
Chris Jones – 3
Kelly Smith – 3
Michael Wilbon – 3
Reggie Miller – 3
Mark Madden – 3
Larry Brooks – 3
Dan Canova – 3
Steve Rosenbloom – 3
Stephen Jackson – 3
Mike Sando – 3
Walt Borla – 3
Chris Russo  – 3
Nick Cafardo – 3
Ice Cube – 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
Ed Werder  – 2
Ben Mulroney – 2
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 has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.