Phil Mushnick had the hottest take for March 1-7.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes. This time around, we’re breaking down the hottest takes from March 1-7.

5. The Palm Beach Post runs a “No-Name Champion” headline on Keith Mitchell’s win, apologizes: Headlines are hard to get right, especially when they’re trying to reference something where the meaning is only apparent if you read the actual story. We’re certainly not perfect on that front either. But a sports front page headline from the Palm Beach Post this week particularly stood out, and it eventually led to an apology.

First, here’s the headline, about Keith Mitchell’s win (his first PGA Tour victory) at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach:

The piece in question actually isn’t bad, and the web headline of “Honda Classic: Keith Mitchell tops Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Vijay Singh to win his first career PGA Tour title” isn’t objectionable. And the piece goes on to explain the “no name” reference, which came from a friend sending Mitchell a clipping of a newspaper (not the Post) after Friday that read “No-Name Leading Honda.” Mitchell referenced that in his remarks after the win, saying “I just used that as a little kind of emotion, that everyone gets their start somewhere, everyone gets their first win somewhere, and I wanted this to be mine.” But, as Post sports editor Nick Pugliese admitted in an apology post Monday (titled “Palm Beach Post Sports Editor: We blew headline on Keith Mitchell’s victory”; props for fully admitting to the mistake), the paper’s attempt to reference that in the headline was poorly-executed:

While putting together our coverage of Sunday’s final round, topped by the story of Keith Mitchell winning his first PGA Tour event, The Post lined up to write Monday morning’s banner headline for the newspaper’s Sports section — and missed the cup by 10 feet.

…Readers let us have it via email, phone calls and social media: “Derogatory,” “Awful,” “Disrespectful,” “Tacky,” and “Very disappointed in The Post.” And, those were the nicer comments.

While every golfer enjoys a mulligan, our chance passed once the presses started rolling Sunday night.

However, let this apologetic sports editor try to explain the intent behind the headline while acknowledging that it wasn’t a good one and that it did not capture Mitchell’s special moment.

…The No-Name angle even showed up on the PGA Tour’s web site for its Honda final-round main story. The first of five observations on Mitchell’s victory had a headline that said, “Mitchell used ‘no-name’ quip as fuel” and noted that not many people had Mitchell winning this weekend.

Part of the reasoning behind the no-name headline was the list of players who finished right behind Mitchell. Koepka and Fowler, who tied for second, one stroke behind, are two of the bigger names on the Tour.

…We could have tweaked the No-Name headline to make it more appropriate. For instance, NO-NAME NO LONGER, or even putting “NO-NAME” in quotes, reflecting his words, not ours, would have been better.

…The next time Mitchell wins a tournament, we promise to write something like, MITCHELL WINS FIRST MASTERS.

And, we promise never to use No Name and Mitchell in the same sentence again.

That seems like a good apology, explaining the paper’s reasoning while still admitting they got this one wrong. And yes, putting “No-Name” in quotes would have been fine, or “No-Name No Longer.” But the original headline here still counts as a hot take.

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Chicago Tribune columnist Paul Sullivan’s about-face on White Sox spending:

That first piece made last week’s Hot Takes. The second one is quite a contradiction, and in the body, not just in the headline. Some highlights:

It makes sense Sox fans would be disappointed after hearing from November into late February about the team’s interest in investing in a premier free agent.

The Sox never shied away from the rumor mill when it fed into their narrative they were willing to spend big to bring a franchise-caliber player to the South Side. It kept them in the news all offseason, which theoretically should’ve helped them sell tickets.

So it’s a little disingenuous for the organization to complain about Sox fans’ complaints, as executive vice president Ken Williams did Thursday during an interview with the Sun-Times.

Williams told the paper it would be “a shame if it’s being portrayed that we were on the cheap with this thing.” He suggested Sox fans “would have been much more disappointed in our inability to keep this next core together,” adding they would have “overextended ourselves had we gone to an uncomfortable level.”

This is exactly what Sox fans didn’t want to hear. Everyone speculated it was going to take $300 million or more to get Machado and that Harper would demand even more. While the Sox’s $250 million guaranteed offer to Machado was a huge amount of money, it was $50 million less than the package he received from the Padres. Who would say no to an extra $50 million?

And while Williams said “I really dig” Harper, the Sox didn’t bother to take the money they offered Machado and put it toward another package for Harper.

Anyone can sit down and have a meeting with a superstar free agent. But in the end, the Sox’s “pursuit” of Harper appeared to be just for show.

Yes, this second piece is largely a reasonable take. But it’s hilarious to write “Fans are right to criticize the White Sox for not spending” a week after writing “Fans always irrationally want teams to spend more!” The internet has archives, Paul!

Rating: 🔥🔥

3. Carl Steward is “less disgusted” with Larry Baer then with…whoever filmed the video: Last Friday saw San Francisco Giants’ CEO Larry Baer involved in a public altercation with his wife, which appeared to include him trying to grab a phone from her and dragging her to the ground in the process. Video of that quickly made it to TMZ, and Baer apologized and took leave from the team; MLB is investigating the incident. But the real hot take on this came from former Bay Area News Group (San Jose Mercury News, East Bay Times, Marin Independent Journal) sportswriter Carl Steward, who said he was more disgusted that someone filmed the Baer incident and that TMZ paid for it:

It’s understandable to be a little annoyed with TMZ; they’re often a gossip-focused site, they get some stories wrong, and their practice of paying (and paying big money) for stories and videos has some perils. However, while mainstream news media outlets don’t usually pay sources for being a source, there have been plenty of cases of them paying outside sources for photos or video, so TMZ isn’t alone there. And the hot take here is arguing that recording a newsworthy incident, selling video of it, and publishing that video is somehow worse than the incident itself.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

2. Charley Casserly falsely claims Kyler Murray “was never trained for the interview,” says “These were the worst comments I ever got on a high-rated quarterback”: NFL Network analyst Casserly has really been digging himself a hole this week with his comments on Murray. It started Tuesday on NFLN when he passed along anonymous criticisms of Murray from an unspecified number of team sources who criticized Murray’s team interviews, saying “These were the worst comments I ever got on a high-rated quarterback, and I’ve been doing this a long time.” That took blowback for the lack of specificity involved and for the potential bias of the executives making the comments (hurting Murray’s draft stock is probably good for most teams, possibly allowing them to either draft him with a later initial pick or to trade down and still get him).

Casserly then dug himself deeper Wednesday on ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show, talking about how he trains “over 100 players a year” for combine interviews (a conflict of interest that should have been disclosed), and falsely claiming Murray “was never trained for the interview” (he was, by both former coach Lincoln Riley and by former NFL QB and head coach Jim Zorn). Add it all up, and it makes for a pretty hot take.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Phil Mushnick wonders “how come Adam Silver allows NBA players, mostly college men, to refer to one another via highly public “social” media as “n—-s”? 

There’s a whole lot of debate out there about any sort of usage of the n-word, something that affects different people very differently. But in 2019, it doesn’t seem particularly controversial to say that those who aren’t black probably shouldn’t be using that word or complaining about the usage of it by some rappers. This is a long-running theme for New York Post columnist/troll Phil Mushnick, though, and he’s back at it again. Before we get to his latest, let’s look at Mushnick’s greatest hits on the n-word:

May 2012Mushnick writes “As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment? Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N——s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—-hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!”, a column that later gets deleted. He then responds to criticism with “Such obvious, wishful and ignorant mischaracterizations of what I write are common. I don’t call black men the N-word; I don’t regard young women as bitches and whores; I don’t glorify the use of assault weapons and drugs. Jay-Z, on the other hand…..Is he the only NBA owner allowed to call black men N—ers? Jay-Z profits from the worst and most sustaining self-enslaving stereotypes of black-American culture and I’M the racist? Some truths, I guess, are just hard to read, let alone think about.”

October 2017: Mushnick bashes then-ESPN personality Jemele Hill for her discussion of a boycott of the Dallas Cowboys if fans objected to them signing Greg Hardy, and then dove into how she had rappers as guests on SC6: “Again, here we have unbalanced, highly selective social and racial activism and outrage, not a hint of objective fair-mindedness. After all, we don’t recall her call to financially boycott teams that sign or retain players who have beaten women, abandon children born to “baby mamas” or tote illegal weapons, one in the chamber. And she has indulged ESPN’s frequent “special guest” appearances of unspeakably and unprintably vulgar rappers who promote and cash in big on every heart-breaking, blood-spilling backwards stereotype of black America — especially rappers who have helped resuscitate the N-word while boasting of their sexual degradation of women as hit-the-road whores, bitches and worse.”

December 2017Mushnick is ticked off that Kendrick Lamar is doing a college football playoff halftime show on ESPN, and that Hill is excited about it: “Given Hill’s race-based activism, one logically wonders why she’d so openly favor Lamar, a rapper who has grown fabulously wealthy through lyrics that consistently refer to black men as “N—-s”. I’d be glad to provide Hill examples of his lyrical artistry so she can recite them on ESPN. She could start with “Money Trees.’’ That could never happen because ESPN would never allow such a thing, thus she’s spared from exposing her rank hypocrisy. Or perhaps she can identify the proper context in which African-Americans should be called “N—-s,” and those logical instances when the vulgar degradation of women should be recorded, sold, performed, applauded. Does Hill know that 12-year-old black kids now effortlessly, reflexively call one another “n—-s”? She’s good with that? Odd, but not surprising, how it works. ESPN, a sports network, decries racism and sexism from within and beyond, yet eagerly seizes the cross-promotional (perceived) value in embracing such rappers. Still, not one ESPN exec would dare publicly repeat their lyrics.”

October 2018: Mushnick is mad that Lil’ Wayne was there for an ESPN interview of Odell Beckham Jr.: “As long as ESPN sees fit to present $95 million all-about-me malcontent Odell Beckham Jr. with low-life rapper Lil Wayne, it should’ve scrolled through the latter’s vulgar, N-worded, women-denigrating lyrics and his extensive criminal record.”

And here’s the latest case of Mushnick complaining about rap music, this time deep in a column complaining about Jessica Mendoza and other assorted subjects. His target this time? Snoop Dogg. (And NBA commissioner Adam Silver, for not policing how black NBA players talk to each other.)

“How come, if a white Lakers season-ticket holder/celebrity posted a racist, vulgar, message about the Lakers — one laced with the N-word and the suggestion that the team depart via “slave ship” — he or she would rightly be Page 1 news, a national pariah and the Lakers would cancel his or her subscription, but when Snoop Dogg, at 47 a pornographer with a long arrest record, does such he’s indulged?

While we’re at it, how come Adam Silver allows NBA players, mostly college men, to refer to one another via highly public “social” media as “n—-s”? Or are they adhering to the good, proper context for such a term?”

Yes, Phil, black people are going to get in less trouble for using the n-word than white people. We expect to see you complaining about this for the rest of time. But that doesn’t make your complaints any less detached from reality.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Hot Take Standings:

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 231
Skip Bayless – 200
Phil Mushnick – 174
Colin Cowherd – 76
Rob Parker – 59
Doug Gottlieb – 53
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Albert Breer – 29
Dan Shaughnessy – 26
Ray Lewis – 25
Don Cherry – 22
Darren Rovell – 20
Danny Kanell – 20
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Dan Dakich – 18
Michael DeCourcy – 16
Jason McIntyre – 16
Andy Benoit – 15
Tony Massarotti – 15
Ben Maller – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Jason Smith – 13
Kirk Herbstreit – 13
Mike Felger – 13
The Sporting News – 13
Chris Broussard – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Mike Francesa – 12
Michael Wilbon – 12
John Middlekauff – 11
Keith Olbermann – 11
Greg Gabriel – 10
Rob Rossi – 10
Bill James – 10
Joe Simpson – 10
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Graham Couch – 9
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – 9
Ross Tucker – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Bob Ford – 8
John Feinstein – 8
Steve Simmons – 8
Frank Isola – 8
Michael Rapaport – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Howard Eskin – 7
Trent Dilfer – 7
Damien Cox – 7
Mike Bianchi – 7
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
Charley Casserly – 6
The Wall Street Journal – 6
Pat Leonard – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Paul Sullivan – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Dan Clark  – 5
Paul Daugherty  – 5
Michael Kay – 5
Tom Jones – 5
Max Kellerman – 5
Mark Readings – 5
Neil Warnock – 5
Patrick Bet-David – 5
Jared Stillman – 5
Jen Rainwater – 5
Matt Walsh – 5
Jon Steinberg – 5
Bill Welt – 5
Jack Todd – 5
Aaron Murray – 5
Chris Childers – 5
Mark Knight – 5
The Herald Sun – 5
David Booth – 5
Tom Nichols – 5
Keith Hernandez – 5
Bill O’Reilly – 5
Brandel Chamblee – 5
Michael McCarthy – 5
Mike “The Reputation Doctor®” Paul – 5
Dennis Dodd – 5
Rich Lowry – 5
Chris Reed – 5
The 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
Bill Simons – 5
Christine Flowers – 5
Jason Lieser – 5
John Steigerwald – 5
Josh Peter – 5
Alexi Lalas – 5
John Moody – 5
Marni Soupcoff – 5
Ryan Rishaug – 5
Kurtis Larson – 5
Rod Watson – 5
Chuck Modiano – 5
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 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
Terry Frei – 5
David Jones – 5
Sabrina Parr – 5
Abbey Mastracco – 5
Terry Cushman – 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
Cody McDavis – 4
The New York Times – 4
Dan Crenshaw – 4
Mike Vaccaro – 4
Mike Klis – 4
Richard Keys – 4
Peter King – 4
Bruce Levine – 4
Malcolm Gladwell – 4
That’s Kappy – 4
Mitchell Nathanson – 4
The New York Daily News – 4
“Big” Jim Murray – 4
Jeff Diamond – 4
Marc Berman – 4
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
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
Tony Kornheiser – 4
USA Today – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Carl Steward  – 3
Jerry Coleman – 3
Jon Johnson  – 3
Trey Wingo – 3
Lance Zierlein – 3
Michael Salfino – 3
Tom Van Riper – 3
Andy Katz – 3
Tony La Russa  – 3
Jim Brady – 3
Bill Simmons – 3
Mark Teixeira – 3
Wally Hall – 3
Damien Woody – 3
Victor Cruz – 3
Andrew Walker – 3
Jim Kaat – 3
Jason Gay – 3
Steven J. Brams – 3
Aaron Isaksen – 3
Will Muschamp – 3
Buck Lanford – 3
Stan Fischler – 3
Sonnie Wooden – 3
Chris Jones – 3
Kelly Smith – 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
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
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 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
The Palm Beach Post – 2
Karl Ravech – 2
Mike Florio – 2
Dari Nowkah – 2
Ella Dorsey – 2
The Hill – 2
John Kindt – 2
Bill Madden – 2
Tony Gonzalez – 2
Mike Greenberg – 2
Grant Paulsen – 2
Jeff Ermann – 2
Ed Werder – 2
Ben Mulroney – 2
Ron Cook – 2
Brian Kenny – 2
Barrett Sallee – 2
Craig Calcaterra – 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
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.