Ray Lewis delivered the hottest take from July 28-August 3, about Colin Kaepernick.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes, collecting the hottest air spewed across the sports media world. This time around, we’re looking at takes from July 28-August 3. Let’s get to it:

5. Charley Casserly thinks Colin Kaepernick might quit midseason, can’t read defenses: Casserly, the former GM of the Washington Redskins (1989-1999) and Houston Texans (2002-2006) and currently a NFL Network analyst, has long been a critic of Kaepernick (and some other black quarterbacks who use their legs), saying in March that Kaepernick doesn’t deserve a starting job:

“Just watching the tape on him through the years — now there were games this year (in which) he was better than what I’m going to describe — but for the most part, the body of tape does not show a dropback quarterback,” NFL Network’s Charley Casserly said of Kaepernick on Wednesday. “It shows a quarterback that’s indecisive in his reads and is inaccurate, and he’s not quite the runner he was when he first came into the league. Most quarterbacks aren’t the same runner after they’ve been hit for a while and they slow down a little bit.

“If I’m a dropback team, this guy is just a guy to me. Yeah, we can bring him in, he’s another arm, we’ll work with him. But I don’t see a solution in this guy as a quarterback to be a starter in the National Football League from most of his tape.

Casserly continued that Thursday, questioning Kaepernick’s ability to read defenses and also saying he might quit during the season:


As Mike Freeman has repeatedly pointed out, Kaepernick has proven to be a better passer (even if you completely disregard his rushing ability) than many of the quarterbacks who have already found jobs, and his stats are remarkable for a quarterback who isn’t receiving offers. And Kaepernick himself told Dave Zirin of The Nation he wants to play and is committed to it, which seems a little more important than all the NFL whispering that he isn’t (which is mostly a convenient excuse to say you’re not signing him, but not because of his politics). Zirin has argued that many media members are carrying on an anti-Kaepernick disinformation campaign, and Casserly would certainly seem to qualify there. And as Spencer Hall noted, “he’s athletic and has an arm” is straight out of “problematic descriptions of black quarterbacks 101”:

Oh, and we should note that Casserly is such a great evaluator of quarterback talent that he drafted Heath Shuler third overall and David Carr first overall.

Rating: ??

4. Colin Cowherd says Cam Newton’s running “is the easier, lazier way to play QB”: Uh, speaking of problematic descriptions, let’s have at this one from last Friday’s edition of The Herd on FS1:

Lazier? Really? Putting your body on the line and taking hits is somehow “lazier” than throwing downfield? And finding consistent success as a rushing quarterback in the NFL is somehow easy? Cowherd admits that “it will beat you up physically” at least, but the descriptions of running as lazy are ridiculous. Yes, there’s room for a discussion about how frequently quarterbacks should run, and where the tradeoff is in terms of injury risk (a main reason the Panthers’ coaches want Newton to run a little less, which is what prompted this take in the first place), but the lazy discussion here is ridiculous, as is implying that Newton doesn’t work hard in the film room. And Cowherd later says “Here’s what Cam Newton says to the coaches in Carolina trying to make his job easier.” So which approach is easier, Colin? It’s nice that you managed to call both running and passing-focused approaches easier in the same minute. If you want to argue that the Panthers’ coaches are right to de-emphasize the run and Newton is wrong to push back, fine; there might be a discussion to be had there. But saying that running is “easier” and “lazier” is a lazy argument, to say nothing of a hot one.

Rating: ???

3. Mike Sielski compares Allen Iverson not playing in Philadelphia to accusations of statutory rape against Pete Rose: Many local sports columnists often use the “here are a few things that happened this week that I can connect with a theme” approach, but it’s a risky one when those things aren’t close to equal, and especially when one involves accusations of illegal behavior and another doesn’t. Philly.com’s Mike Sielski did just that, though, in a piece headlined “Pete Rose and Allen Iverson raise a big question: Why do we tolerate stars’ dishonorable behavior?

This week saw Rose accused of committing statutory rape by having sex with a woman under 16 in the 1970s, which led to the Phillies cancelling their planned night honoring him. As for Iverson? He skipped a Big 3 game in Dallas without notice, leading to the league suspending him for a game, but what Sielski is really mad about is how Iverson (a player-coach for the 3’s Company team) coached but didn’t play during the tour’s stop in Philadelphia, with league founder Ice Cube later saying doctors told Iverson “not to get out of bed” and that he came anyway to coach his team and interact with fans. So yeah, that’s exactly like Rose being accused of statutory rape. Here are some lowlights from Sielski’s piece:

There was nothing surprising about Rose’s behavior that day, just as there was nothing surprising about the allegation, exposed Monday, that Rose had a sexual relationship in the 1970s with an underage female, just as there was nothing surprising about Allen Iverson’s recent blow-off of a Big 3 basketball game at the Wells Fargo Center. In fact, on the same day that the Phillies announced that they would not induct Rose into their Wall of Fame on Aug. 12, the Big 3 announced that it was suspending Iverson after he no-showed another game. These sorts of stories arise, like canker sores, often in sports, and they sting to varying degrees, depending on the principals and their actions. The concept that links them is dishonor. The famous athlete or celebrity breaks a promise. He commits a sordid act. He reveals or reaffirms that he is something more than merely flawed, or maybe something less.

(A quick digression: While it’s reasonable to suggest that Iverson’s skipping these games is relatively trivial and that the Big 3’s suspension of him is silly, I’d argue that, in one way, his bait-and-switch at the Wells Fargo Center on July 16 was more egregious than some of his transgressions with the 76ers. If Iverson blew off a Sixers game, a fan who had paid good money for a ticket might still see his or her favorite team win and receive at least some emotional satisfaction. But Iverson was the draw for that Big 3 game in Philadelphia. He was the attraction, the primary reason for attending. It was particularly cynical that he didn’t perform in an event that, in its context, derived its entire entertainment value from his participation.)

Look, criticizing Iverson for no-showing the Dallas game is fine, and criticizing him for not playing in Philadelphia may be valid (we don’t really know the medical situation from the outside). Criticizing him for avoiding the press afterwards is also fair. But comparing that in any way to what Rose is accused of is ridiculous. And it’s worth noting that while this accusation won’t lead to criminal charges against Rose (the statute of limitations has passed), he has admitted he had sex with the woman in question, but says that happened in 1975, when he was 34 and married and when he believed she was 16; that may look better from a legal perspective, but it’s still something a lot of people have a problem with.

The response to these situations also shows how different they are. Rose’s actions have already led to the cancellation of that Phillies’ fan night, and could perhaps even lead to him losing his Fox job. Meanwhile, Iverson’s actions in Philadelphia didn’t receive any punishment from the league, and his skipping the game in Dallas earned a one-game suspension. That’s a whole different level of severity, as befits the drastic differences between these cases. Trying to shoehorn them into one take is a hack move, a problematic move, and a move that drew some deserved criticism from SB Nation’s Tyler Ricky Tynes:



Yeah, lumping Iverson not playing in one game and skipping another in with accusations of Rose committing statutory rape is not a good move.

Rating: ?????

2. Doug Gottlieb says Adrian Beltre deserves PED scrutiny because he’s Dominican: Gottlieb delivered a nuclear-level take on Fox Sports Radio this week, saying that Texas Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre may be using performance-enhancing drugs without providing any evidence other than Beltre playing well late in his career and being born in the Dominican Republic. Here’s the clip, titled “Not Outlandish to Assume Adrian Beltre is a Cheater”:

“I’m not saying Adrian Beltre unequivocally did it, I’m saying, ‘hey, we’ve all been fooled before’, and we have some markers that could paint the tale of a guy who could possibly be ahead of the curve and hasn’t tested positive for it.”

“It’s legal, it’s over-the-counter, and there’s a different culture there than there is here. There is a high percentage of baseball players that have tested positive that are from the Dominican Republic. If it’s a stereotype, it’s created upon the actual statistical data that a high percentage of the players who have been suspended from Major League Baseball for testing positive for PED’s came from the Dominican Republic.”

And Fox Sports Radio tweeted it out with a delightful graphic of headlines about the Dominican Republic, none of which had anything to do with Beltre:

Deadspin mocked that nicely with a shot at Gottlieb’s past charges of felony credit card theft:

And Yahoo’s Jeff Passan really went in on Gottlieb, and deservedly so, first on Twitter and then on the radio. Here’s Passan’s key point:


Rating: ?????

1. Ray Lewis tells Colin Kaepernick “what you do off the field, don’t let too many people know”: After getting thoroughly owned by Shannon Sharpe in a Kaepernick debate on FS1’s Undisputed Monday, Lewis posted a bizarre video to Twitter where he provided said unsolicited advice (and much, much more) to Kaepernick. Here’s a look at the weirdest part:

As noted on Twitter, this wasn’t a great idea for Lewis, who was charged with two counts of murder in 2000 and pled guilty to obstruction of justice:

But Lewis’ whole five-minute video includes much more nonsense, as For The Win’s Steven Ruiz notes:

For some reason, Lewis brings up his own mistakes but makes sure to tell Kaepernick that he has never repeated any of those mistakes twice. Let’s hear it for, Ray! He’s managed to not obstruct a murder investigation a second time! Kaepernick has made no such mistakes during his career; unless Lewis thinks obstructing justice is on par with peacefully protesting the national anthem, I’m not sure what he’s getting at here.

Lewis doesn’t understand why people are saying “Ray said this, Ray said that,” because “Ray ain’t saying nothing.” He said this after an appearance on a television show in which he defended the Ravens for their handling of the Kaepernick situation. Ray has definitely said something. In fact, at the very moment he claimed to have said nothing he was in the middle of saying something. It’s all very confusing.

And let’s not forget Lewis’ ridiculous argument against Kaepernick on Undisputed:

Lewis got nicely schooled by former ESPN colleague Bob Ley, too:

Add all that up, and it’s one heck of a spicy take from Lewis.

Rating: ?????

Notable absences: Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, Phil Mushnick. A rare week where the top three in our standings missed out entirely.

Hot Take Standings: 

Stephen A. Smith – 110
Skip Bayless – 86
Phil Mushnick – 59
Colin Cowherd – 26
Shannon Sharpe – 20
JT The Brick – 17
Rick Morrissey – 13
Charles Barkley – 13
Doug Gottlieb – 13
Ray Lewis – 12
Don Cherry – 11
Albert Breer – 10
Rob Parker – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Bill Plaschke – 9
Tony Massarotti – 8
Jason McIntyre – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Dan Dakich – 7
Chris Broussard – 6
Michael DeCourcy – 6
Kristine Leahy – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 5
Bob Brookover – 5
Berry Tramel – 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
Frank Isola – 5
Gary Myers – 4
Mark Schlereth – 4
Andy Gray – 4
David Fleming – 4
The Sporting News – 4
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Cris Carter – 4
Kirk Herbstreit – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
Mike Felger – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Matt Burke – 3
Michael Rapaport – 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
Mike Francesa – 3
Jeff Mans – 3
Danny Kanell – 3
Joe Browne – 3
Mike Harrington – 3
Greg Mitchell – 3
Charley Casserly – 2
Amin Elhassan – 2
Jim Henneman – 2
Ross Tucker – 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
Dan Wolken – 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.