Britt McHenry topped the hot takes for July 13-22.

Welcome to a special Monday edition of This Week In Hot Takes, this time covering the hottest takes from July 13-22. (We apologize for the delay from the usual Friday slot, which we’ll be returning to this week.)

5. Stephen A. Smith says Kawhi Leonard was “exiled to another country”: ESPN pundit Smith hasn’t often been a big fan of players asking for trades or even making particular free agency decisions (see his years-long complaints about Kevin Durant), and he showed that off again last week. Following the news of San Antonio Spurs’ star Kawhi Leonard being traded to the Toronto Raptors, Smith jumped in to say this was about Leonard’s arrogance and it was an “exile to another country” for him:

Yes, that’s technically true; Canada is another country. But it’s only an exile in the sense that any trade not of a player’s making is, and “evidently not big enough” is pretty ridiculous; there aren’t many players who are able to get themselves traded exactly where they want to go and when. That’s why free agency is important.

And suggesting that Leonard’s injury-limited season (which was at the center of the conflict between him and the Spurs) is what kept him from going to the Lakers doesn’t feel right either, and neither does saying he acted like he played 82 games. Leonard is aware of his value, as is everyone else, and while his injuries raise some questions, they don’t mean he should suddenly have to be meek.

Also, this may not be as much of an awful thing for Leonard as Smith claims; he got out of what looked to be turning into a toxic situation in San Antonio, he wound up on a Raptors’ team that’s an Eastern Conference favorite, and he can now choose either to stay with them long-term or head wherever he wants next summer. But sure, “this is what happens.”

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. John Middlekauff wonders “what kinda loser do you have to be” to look up Josh Hader’s old tweets: Middlekauff, the former NFL scout turned The Athletic San Francisco personality, has become a regular presence in this column recently, and he’s back again thanks to takes on the unearthing of Brewers’ pitcher Josh Hader’s old racist and homophobic tweets. First, in a since-deleted tweet, he wondered “what kinda loser to you have to be also to go back to 2011 and look for tweets? #ABigOne.” That was screencapped by Robert O’Neill, next to one of Middlekauff’s old tweets on the Cubs signing Jon Lester:

There are also plenty of Middlekauff tweets on the Hader situation that weren’t deleted, saying it’s not a big deal because he was 17 and calling Twitter an “echo chamber of hate” for people pointing out these old racist and homophobic tweets:

Look, yes, of course tweets from seven years ago aren’t necessarily fully indicative of a person today. But that doesn’t mean that digging up racist and homophobic tweets a professional athlete sent and did not delete is for “losers,” or that it’s acceptable to send racist tweets when you’re 17, or that pointing out that a player did this is part of the “echo chamber of hate.” And it’s notable that this only led to sensitivity training for Hader, not a suspension or the loss of his job (unlike Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who was fired after right-wing critics unearthed old tweets that saw Gunn making offensive jokes about pedophilia and rape). Middlekauff’s “he was 17” needs some work as a defense, and his calling Twitter users who dug up Hader’s tweets “losers” is the real hot take here.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. John Feinstein argues that an All-Star Game he “didn’t watch a minute of” didn’t matter, batting practice was better than the Home Run Derby: It’s always fun to see takes from people who proudly insist that they didn’t watch the thing they’re dropping takes on. We got that recently with Andy Benoit’s thoughts on college football, which appeared in last week’s hot take roundup, and now we have author and CBS Sports Radio contributor John Feinstein penning a long screed about how the All-Star Game used to be better back in his day (despite the National League almost always winning) and how it “doesn’t matter anymore” (despite him not watching it to know what happened). Most of the column is just him rattling off past All-Star Game stats and memories, but there are some spicy takes in it, including that “nobody cares anymore” and that players taking batting practice in the old days was better than the Home Run Derby:

I covered the All-Star game for The Washington Post in San Francisco in 1984 and remember batting practice on Monday afternoon when one slugger after another took turns crushing balls into the stands. There was nothing formal about it, no hyped ‘Home Run Derby,’ just a bunch of great players putting on a show for thrilled fans—who paid nothing to get into the ballpark that day.

…The American League’s 8-6 victory on Tuesday meant it has now won 18 of the last 22 All-Star games. Here’s the thing: nobody cares anymore—including the players. I’m not exactly certain when the game stopped mattering at all, but it’s been a while now.

…On Monday, when Bryce Harper—who I’ve always liked—won the Home Run Derby, people acted as if the Nats had finally made the World Series. I wrote a CBS Sports Minute making fun of all the hysteria and the fact that many in the—frightened that Harper will leave this fall as a free agent—are already trying to say Harper leaving isn’t that big a deal.
It IS a big deal. Winning the Home Run Derby is not. Naturally, the local media talking heads pilloried me for daring to make fun of them. I suppose they’re entitled.
All that said, I didn’t watch a minute of the All-Star game. I couldn’t care less anymore. Give me the Cardinals and Cubs tonight and the season (finally) re-starting in earnest on Friday.

Look, no one needs to like or watch the All-Star Game if they don’t want to, but Feinstein’s argument here is just a whole bunch of nostalgia, including some that’s not especially measurable (such as how much players “cared”). And it should be noted that the old All-Star Games had their problems, too; one person’s “they cared!” is another’s “Ray Fosse’s still in pain almost 50 years after Pete Rose took him out in an exhibition game.” But this whole piece was just a chance for Feinstein to point out how long he’s been around baseball, and to use exaggerated “Back in my day” arguments. (He’d fit right in with the Four Yorkshiremen.) And it’s particularly great that he’s trashing something he didn’t even watch.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

2. Doug Gottlieb says “Time for Soccer Guy to go away,” Mbappe is “just like 1000 dudes that play football or hoops in the states”: Regular Fox Sports Radio provocateur Gottlieb has really embraced the role of “ignorant about soccer American media personality” during this World Cup, and he brought that again at the event’s conclusion. First, there was him again arguing that the U.S. could easily win the World Cup if “top athletes” played soccer, this time saying French star Kylian Mbappe is “just like 1000 dudes that play football or hoops in the states.” And that led to him getting dunked on by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman:

“We will win everything” is a ludicrous take given the world levels of talent in soccer, and given that athletic skill doesn’t always translate from sport to sport and isn’t the sole predictor of success. But that didn’t dissuade Gottlieb from reveling in his ignorance, though. And he did just that on his radio show, spending almost five minutes talking about how little soccer he watches (but how much he knows about it despite that) and how he wants soccer fans to “go away” until the next World Cup:

This is just ridiculous trolling with no basis in reality, but that’s par for the course from Gottlieb.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Britt McHenry says Jimmy Garoppolo “should have more values and class than parading a porn star in LA”: Since her exit from ESPN, Fox 5 D.C. co-host McHenry has really cranked up the takes. This time around, she cares about who San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took on a date:

“Values and class,” eh? We can’t all have the values and class of Britt McHenry, known for such takes as “If you don’t want to be treated like a sex object, perhaps don’t be one” on the Redskins’ cheerleader scandal and claims that Craig Sager Jr.’s “only connection to media is his famous dad.” And McHenry is known for just being a perfect model of values, from “I’m on television and you’re in a f—ing trailer, honey.  Lose some weight” through cringey fights with people on Twitter. But sure, Garoppolo going on a date with an adult film actress is the real problem here.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Hot Take Standings: 

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 208
Skip Bayless – 178
Phil Mushnick – 142
Colin Cowherd – 66
Rob Parker – 41
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Doug Gottlieb – 33
Albert Breer – 23
Ray Lewis – 21
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Dan Shaughnessy – 17
Don Cherry – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Chris Broussard – 13
Dan Dakich – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Darren Rovell – 12
Ben Maller – 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
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
Mike Francesa – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
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
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
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
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.