Christine Flowers had the hottest take from May 3-9.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes. This time around, we’re looking at the hottest sports takes from May 4-9.

5. Steve Simmons says “Ricky Ray shouldn’t be announcing his retirement on a conference call,” a venue Ray chose: Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons has popped up here several times over the years, for everything from spreading and defending a false story about Phil Kessel and hot dogs to complaining about Raptors’ players visiting a casino to blasting writer-turned-NHL executive Tyler Dellow to calling mixed curling “an Olympic sham.” This week, he chose to weigh in on famed Toronto Argonauts’ quarterback Ricky Ray choosing to retire on a conference call, saying that Ray “deserves to go out with more pageantry”:

The problem here? This wasn’t a cost-cutting move by the team, at least not as per Argonauts’ radio play-by-play broadcaster/communications manager Mike Hogan.

And that all makes sense. Ray’s official retirement needs to happen before training camps open (presuming that the CFL and CFLPA are actually able to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement), and if he doesn’t want to fly in for a news conference about his retirement, why would the team want to make him? Especially as the majority of media members who would cover it were just fine with a conference call. But Simmons managed to once again take a personal complaint (that he wanted to talk to Ray in person) and pitch it as a global error by a team, even when it wasn’t even the team making that decision. Great work.

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Dean Blandino tries to say sudden-death hockey overtime is a reason the NFL doesn’t need to change its overtime system: There’s been a lot of criticism of the NFL’s overtime system over the years, as unlike the NCAA or the CFL, it doesn’t necessarily provide both teams with a chance to play on offense. Before the 2009-10 NFL season, the team to score any points first won; since then, teams can still immediately win if they score a touchdown or a safety, but otherwise, the other team will get a chance on offense.

This has led to some controversial results, such as the Patriots winning in overtime in 2017’s Super Bowl LI without Atlanta quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan getting to touch the ball in the extra frame and the Patriots beating the Chiefs and soon-to-be NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes in this year’s AFC championship game in similar style (which led to the Chiefs proposing a rule change). And it also led to Dean Blandino (the former NFL vice president of officiating and current Fox Sports rules analyst) trying to compare hockey’s rules to the NFL’s, and arguing that hockey proves that the NFL shouldn’t change its rules to give both teams an offensive possession:

The two situations really aren’t comparable. A key difference in the NFL (and why many people hate its current overtime system) is that players usually don’t play both ways in the modern game; a system that allows for just one possession (in the case of a touchdown) means that the likes of Ryan and Mahomes didn’t get a chance to make a play in the extra frame. By contrast, both teams are “on offense” at any given moment in the NHL; yes, there are sometimes more defensive-oriented lineups sent out against a top opposing line, or on a penalty kill, but those players’ roles aren’t strictly about defense, and they still score from time to time.

Beyond that, Patrick Maroon’s overtime goal came 5:50 into the second overtime period, so after 25:50 of extra play. The Stars’ and Blues’ coaches got the chance to use whatever players they wanted by that point. So that’s not analogous to the team that lost the coin toss never getting to have their quarterbacks and receivers impact the game. Both teams could involve all their players. And even in the case of a quick overtime goal (something that didn’t happen here), yes, not all players might get to make their mark on the overtime frame by that point, but the two teams start on equal footing with a center-ice faceoff, and coaches can send out whatever players they want. Any case where star players don’t have a chance to impact the game in overtime in the NHL is about coaching decisions, not a coin flip, and there isn’t a coin-provided advantage to one team.

And furthermore, the Blues didn’t actually “win the faceoff, control puck for minute & score”; the overtime goal in question came just six seconds after a faceoff win. Yes, the Blues controlled the puck before that faceoff (the previous play recorded was an Oskar Sundqvist shot saved by the Stars’ Ben Bishop, six seconds before the faceoff thanks to the puck being caught in the netting), but not for a full minute, as the Stars had a shot of their own blocked at 4:48 and the Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo committed a defensive-zone giveaway at 4:59. So Blandino doesn’t even have his basic facts right. But sure, use an unrelated hockey example as a reason why NFL overtime is perfectly fine.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. Max Kellerman says Larry Fitzgerald “is like a Vince Carter, he might make the Hall of Fame because of longevity,” Kyle Lowry is a “better player under pressure” than Kobe Bryant: For once, the headline-generating takes on ESPN’s First Take Tuesday came from Max Kellerman rather than Stephen A. Smith. For one thing, Kellerman dumped all over Arizona Cardinals’ receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s Pro Football Hall of Fame chances, and promptly got dunked on by current and former NFL players, including Will Blackmon (a defensive back who spent over a decade in the NFL with various teams):

As many have noted, that’s quite the minority opinion on Fitzgerald (with even a bunch of NFL coaches falling all over themselves to praise him in March), a receiver who’s second all-time in receiving yards and has made the aforementioned 11 Pro Bowls despite a whole lot of mediocrity at quarterback. And it might have been Kellerman’s hottest take of the day. But it wasn’t the take that made one of his co-hosts walk off the set; that was Kellerman’s comment that Kawhi Leonard was a “better player under pressure” than Kobe Bryant, which was the last straw for Jay Williams:

“Better player under pressure” is such a ludicrous and nebulous category to debate in the first place. And yes, there’s room for some criticism of Bryant’s shooting efficiency, but this isn’t the best way to do that. That’s quite the day of takes, Max.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

2. Chris Broussard says Canada’s soft, “and so is it’s basketball team”: It’s been a while since the last great Canadian stereotyping around sports by an American pundit, possibly dating as far back as Harold Reynolds’ 2015 take that Canadians can’t catch foul balls. Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard provided one this week, though:

It’s not clear what makes a country “soft,” but it should be noted that a lot of Canada deals with much harsher environmental conditions (especially in the winter) than a lot of places in the United States. More importantly, though, applying this to the Raptors is particularly silly, as they don’t even have a single Canadian player at the moment (per Basketball Reference). So assigning Canadian qualities to them seems patently ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as using the wrong its, though. It looks like Broussard needs better sources on both Canada and possessive pronouns.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Christine Flowers is “wistful for a time when athletes didn’t crusade for social justice”: Philadelphia Daily News columnist Christine Flowers has shown up here before for complaining about the Sixers deciding to honor Meek Mill, saying they’re “dead to me” after they had the rapper (released from the prison sentence he received for probation violations after lobbying and appeals) ring the pre-game Liberty Bell. She’s back, again complaining about Mill but also now saying she can’t root for the Flyers because they dared to relocate a statue of Kate Smith after it came out that Smith had recorded songs with racist lyrics like “That’s Why The Darkies Were Born” and “Pickaninny Heaven.” Flowers’ latest column is titled “Wistful for a time when athletes didn’t crusade for social justice.” Here are some highlights:

I go to Newark a lot for work and often pass by the Prudential Center where there is a big statue of Martin Brodeur, legendary star of the Jersey Devils hockey team. Being a lifelong Flyers fan, I would never miss the opportunity to stick my tongue out, or do any of those juvenile things that make life enjoyable at 57.

Recently, though, I made a point of taking my picture in front of Brodeur’s statue and then put it on Facebook with the caption: “My new team #BringBackKate.”

Other than delighting my dear friend Arlette who has sung the national anthem at their home game for years, I know this had little impact in the ongoing conversation around the Flyers removal of singer Kate Smith’s statue after concerns about some of her lyrics. But it made me feel good, and was an indication of how I’ve evolved from a girl who loved her sports teams with unquestioning devotion. Because of the Kate Smith debacle, I no longer support the Flyers.

I’ve also stopped supporting the Sixers, whose co-owner Michael Rubin has befriended rapper Meek Mill. Rubin and Mill have set out to reform the criminal justice system in Philadelphia. I don’t deny that it needs reforming.

But Mill isn’t some random kid who was crushed by a cruel system. He was convicted of drug and weapons charges, and then proceeded to violate probation regularly, over a period of 10 years.

…And given the way that the Flyers played this year, it’s no surprise I don’t have to avoid their playoff run. Which means I’m essentially down to two teams, and if Malcolm Jenkins keeps loving on Meek Mill the way he has in the past and if Jeffrey Lurie doesn’t get them to stop playing his “Dreams and Nightmares” in which every other words is bleepable, I might have to reconsider my love affair with the Eagles. (Even though it might kill me.)

But boy do I miss the days when I didn’t know what political party my favorite players belonged to, or whether they liked the current occupant of the White House, or their sexual orientation, or their immigration status, or any of the other things that have nothing whatsoever to do with the beauty of the respective games.

Jackie Robinson was heroic. So was Jesse Owens. And Althea Gibson. And Arthur Ashe. And Martina Navratilova. But the difference between those athletes and the current crop of social justice warriors/players is that the heroes from the past broke social barriers and worked toward a more perfect justice by being the best they could be in their fields. They did it with courage and dignity — not with outrage, accusation, and obscene lyrics.

It’s real easy to pick that apart, especially as many of the athletes she lists were very, very outspoken about political and cultural issues both during and after their careers. Flowers may have ignored their politics herself, but athletes being involved in political causes isn’t new at all. This also drew quite the response from Jenkins, one of the players she criticized:

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Honorable mentions: James Merilatt argues “in many ways, Colorado took steps backward this season” after the Avalanche went from a first-round loss in six games to a second-round loss in seven games, John Feinstein claims “no one in the media” objected to Kentucky Derby stewards not taking questions, and Tony Barnhart claims there isn’t offseason college football chatter in the Big Ten.

Hot Take Standings:

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 242
Skip Bayless – 203
Phil Mushnick – 186
Colin Cowherd – 84
Rob Parker – 59
Doug Gottlieb – 53
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Don Cherry – 30
Albert Breer – 29
Dan Shaughnessy – 26
Darren Rovell – 25
Ray Lewis – 25
Mike Francesa – 24
Charles Barkley – 24
Danny Kanell – 24
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Andy Benoit – 18
Dan Dakich – 18
Chris Broussard – 17
Michael DeCourcy – 16
Jason McIntyre – 16
Tony Massarotti – 15
Ben Maller – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Jason Smith – 13
Kirk Herbstreit – 13
Mike Felger – 13
The Sporting News – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Michael Wilbon – 12
Michael Rapaport – 11
John Middlekauff – 11
Keith Olbermann – 11
Steve Simmons – 10
Christine Flowers – 10
Jeff Schultz – 10
Greg Gabriel – 10
Rob Rossi – 10
Bill James – 10
Joe Simpson – 10
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Max Kellerman – 9
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
Frank Isola – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Will Cain – 7
Howard Eskin – 7
Trent Dilfer – 7
Damien Cox – 7
Mike Bianchi – 7
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
Peter King – 6
Charley Casserly – 6
The Wall Street Journal – 6
Pat Leonard – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Merril Hoge – 5
Jonathan Allen – 5
Dean Blevins – 5
Tony Rizzo – 5
Paul Sullivan – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Dan Clark  – 5
Paul Daugherty  – 5
Michael Kay – 5
Tom Jones – 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
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
Mike Florio – 4
Randal Grichuk – 4
Mike Schmidt – 4
Mike Bell – 4
Cody McDavis – 4
The New York Times – 4
Dan Crenshaw – 4
Mike Vaccaro – 4
Mike Klis – 4
Richard Keys – 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
Dean Blandino – 3
Gary Bettman – 3
Chris Torello – 3
Aaron Taylor – 3
Undisputed producers – 3
Pete Thamel – 3
John Kincade – 3
Brian Burke – 3
Doug Russell  – 3
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
Michael Schmidt – 2
Bob Nightengale – 2
Pierre McGuire – 2
The Palm Beach Post – 2
Karl Ravech – 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
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.