Mark Readings led the hot takes for Jan. 11-17.

Welcome back to This Week In Hot Takes! This time, we’re breaking down the hottest sports takes over the span of Jan. 11-17.

5. Dari Nowkah says “the A’s don’t deserve this” over report of Kyler Murray wanting more money to turn down football: There have been plenty of discussions of Oklahoma quarterback and Oakland A’s draft pick Kyler Murray’s decision to enter the NFL draft or not (he eventually chose to do so), and that brought out some takes. One came from ESPN’s Dari Nowkah, who tweeted that “The A’s don’t deserve this” in response to a report (initially from Mike Leslie of Dallas TV station WFAA, spread further by Bleacher Report) that Murray’s “number” to turn down the NFL was $15 million. (It should be noted that the $15 million number specifically has been disputed by other reporters like ESPN’s Jeff Passan; Passan put the figure Murray was asking for at closer to $10 million, along with other contract elements, and mentioned that the A’s were trying to make Murray a big offer.)  Here are Nowkah’s tweets on the matter:

It’s somewhat understandable why some aren’t thrilled with Murray for asking for more money to turn down the NFL draft, but it’s notable that the situation has changed dramatically since the A’s drafted him last summer. At that point, many weren’t high on Murray’s NFL draft stock, especially given his listed height of 5’10” (even if that’s becoming increasingly more irrelevant in today’s game, there are still plenty of “But he’s short!” pundits), and he may well have been a later-round pick. But his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign this year has dramatically boosted his likely draft position, which means that he would be turning down a lot of money if he avoided the NFL draft.

It doesn’t seem too unreasonable for Murray to ask for more from the A’s to choose them now that he has more leverage. And it’s notable that (as per Passan and others) both the A’s and MLB tried to offer him more to get him to stick with baseball alone. It’s also notable that teams change their mind on players all the time, especially in the NFL where contracts aren’t fully guaranteed, but also in MLB where top players who get injured before the end of their rookie deals don’t get the lucrative extensions they were promised. And yet, teams are criticized much less for doing so. But everyone has to dump on players trying to use the few levers they have to maximize their own earnings.

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Andy Katz claims “There is no need for this” about Tennessee’s gator-chomping celebration of their win over Florida: One of the recurring themes in this column is pundits criticizing players or teams for particular celebrations. This time around, the take comes from Andy Katz (formerly of ESPN, he now writes for NCAA.com and contributes to Big Ten Network), who blasted Tennessee players for using Florida’s gator chomp after beating the Gators:

When a team uses a celebration of their own repeatedly, it should be far from unexpected that opponents will reference it when that team loses. And yet, many pundits seem to have a huge problem with this for some reason. (See also Texas and “Horns Down.”) Sports often involve emotion and exuberance, and that’s part of the fun for many, and many fans enjoy watching individual or team celebrations, especially those trolling the opponent. It’s unclear why pundits like Katz feel the need to constantly tsk-tsk about moments like this.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. Richard Keys says Rafa Benitez should spend his own money on buying players for Newcastle: Many have criticized Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley for only spending limited amounts of money on new players while also taking back money he’d loaned the club, but some have tried to jump to his defense. That included former player and current BT Sport analyst Rio Ferdinand, and that led to an even hotter take from Keys. Keys, an anchor for beIN sports, argued that if manager Rafa Benitez thinks the club doesn’t have enough money to buy the players he wants, he should…chip in his own money?

As many noted, asking an employee to spend their own money to hire other employees is laughable, and it’s hard to imagine Keys following that path himself:

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

2. Neil Warnock says “I can’t wait to leave. To hell with the rest of the world” re: Brexit: Speaking of struggling Premier League clubs, there’s Cardiff City (17th in the table to Newcastle’s 18th; the two sides play tomorrow). However, rather than focusing on what’s going on with his team, manager Neil Warnock used a post-match press conference after a draw with Huddersfield Town (20th in the table) Saturday to voice some rather strong opinions on Brexit. Warnock not only said he felt Premier League clubs would be fine post-Brexit (many have said it will be harder for them to find players), he went way beyond that to bash the rest of the world:

“I think once the country knows what they’re doing, it will be straightforward [to make signings] … Any transfer window is difficult for me, not just this one.”

He continued: “I don’t know why politicians don’t do what the country wants, if I’m honest. They had a referendum and now we see different politicians and everyone else trying to put their foot in it … Why did we have a referendum in the first bloody place?

“I can’t wait to get out of it, if I’m honest. I think we’ll be far better out of the bloody thing. In every aspect. Football-wise as well, absolutely. To hell with the rest of the world.”

“To hell with the rest of the world” is quite a stance for a manager of a club owned by Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan, one that currently has players from 13 countries on its first-team roster.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Mark Readings claims “large black man mating with white woman is how you breed for the NBA”: The most absurd sports take in a long while comes from someone named Mark Readings, who has a verified Twitter account despite his bio only stating “Founder, PR Firm” and citing “CNN.com” as his website, and despite only having 3,500 followers. (For the record, he is not the Australian sports journalist; Google doesn’t seem to turn up much else on him, though.) This week, Readings decided to go away from his usual business/political/”inspirational” tweets to drop quite the take on “breeding” NBA players; he’s since deleted it, but here it is:

(You can open that tweet in a new tab to see the full list of players Readings claims qualify under that standard.)

This is obviously an incredibly stupid and problematic take on a whole lot of levels. Beyond claiming that good athletic genetics only come from race (and from one particular racial combination of parents), Readings’ usage of terms like “breed for NBA” and “winning genetic lottery” is hopelessly deluded. There are a whole lot of mixed-race children who won’t make the NBA, for one thing, and while genetics play a role in sports success, there’s a lot more to it than that. But this really is about the usual level of insight Readings provides into anything, as you can tell from his pinned tweet:

Okay, then. Good job deciding to give this guy a checkmark, Twitter.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Hot Take Standings:

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 223
Skip Bayless – 198
Phil Mushnick – 167
Colin Cowherd – 74
Doug Gottlieb – 53
Rob Parker – 51
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Albert Breer – 29
Dan Shaughnessy – 26
Ray Lewis – 25
Darren Rovell – 20
Danny Kanell – 20
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Don Cherry – 18
Jason McIntyre – 16
Andy Benoit – 15
Tony Massarotti – 15
Ben Maller – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Kirk Herbstreit – 13
Mike Felger – 13
The Sporting News – 13
Chris Broussard – 13
Dan Dakich – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Michael Wilbon – 12
John Middlekauff – 11
Michael DeCourcy – 11
Keith Olbermann – 11
Greg Gabriel – 10
Rob Rossi – 10
Bill James – 10
Jason Smith – 10
Joe Simpson – 10
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Graham Couch – 9
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – 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
Trent Dilfer – 7
Damien Cox – 7
Mike Bianchi – 7
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
The Wall Street Journal – 6
Pat Leonard – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
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
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
Dan Wolken – 5
Chuck Modiano – 5
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 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
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
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 op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
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
John Feinstein – 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
Bob Ford – 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
Dari Nowkah – 2
Mike Klis – 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
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 is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.