Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes. Here are the hottest takes from sports media figures for the week of Jan. 13-19.
5. Skip Bayless goes in on LeBron James for “flagrant flop”: Bayless had plenty of candidates for this column this week, including his insistence that Jerry Jones will ensure the Cowboys start Tony Romo next year, but perhaps the hottest was a return to one of his favorite targets of criticism, LeBron James:
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) January 17, 2017
“He should now be fined for flagrantly flopping.” Okay, Skip. He deserves another honorable mention for this one, too:
Crazy as it might sound, If Odell hadn't gone to Miami, Atlanta would be playing Sunday at JerryWorld and Dallas would be going to Houston.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 20, 2017
All about that boat, eh?
4. Colin Cowherd predicts “QB controversy in New England” if Patriots lose to Steelers:
This seems pretty unlikely, and using the last two playoff games as your sample size definitely increases the hotness of the take. Of course, Brady is turning 40 in August, so discussion of how long he’ll be with the Patriots isn’t unreasonable altogether, but given the way he’s played this season, predicting that New England will move on from him based on one bad game (which hasn’t even happened yet!) feels fiery. Cowherd makes even Hot Take Hall of Famer Jason Whitlock look reasonable by comparison here.
3. Stephen A. Smith on Rams’ hire of Sean McVay: “No way in hell an African-American is going to get an opportunity like this.”
Apparently, Smith is not a fan of hiring a 30-year-old as a head coach:
“It rubs me the wrong way, because, I know [Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin] got the job when he was 34-years old, but by and large, you see these opportunities, you know there is no way in hell an African-American is going to get an opportunity like this, it’s just something that doesn’t really, really happen very often.
And a lot of white guys ain’t getting an opportunity like this, so it just reeks of who you know, who you are comfortable with, how you were able to ingratiate yourself with them, as opposed to your legit qualifications. I gotta question about that, particularly when you are asking a head coach to be a leader of men, and some would argue whether a 30-year old is man enough at that particular junction, just based on birth certificate alone, and whether they are qualified to be leaders of men …”
It seems bizarre that Smith wants to make the McVay hiring about race as well as age, especially as he points out that Tomlin was hired at 34. “Ingratiate yourself with them, as opposed to your legit qualifications” is also ridiculous, as McVay has three years as an offensive coordinator, more years of coordinator experience (often a key predictor of success) than many first-time head coaches (including Tomlin, who got a head coaching job after just one year as a defensive coordinator). But sure, Stephen A., question that birth certificate.
2. Phil Mushnick wants a “Suckers’ Alley” Hall of Fame area for “clean players”: Baseball Hall of Fame elections always lead to some piping-hot takes, especially on performance-enhancing drugs, and New York Post resident curmudgeon Phil Mushnick delivered one of the hottest Thursday, throwing PED shade at newly-elected Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and talking about “the Unknown Players”:
Perhaps baseball’s Hall of Fame can place a plaque somewhere in a dark corner or down a hall to a broom closet — or next to Bud Selig’s plaque — in recognition of the Unknown Players, those lost within the steroid era because they played clean.
There had to be some, no? Call it Suckers’ Alley. Maybe the MLBPA could help finance it, given its riches and ex-boss Donald Fehr’s willingness to sacrifice his clean union players — to limit, if not end, their earnings and careers.
After all, it stands to reason that for every guy who juiced his way to fame and fortune on Selig and Fehr’s watch, those who didn’t capitulate to PEDs were sold down the Snake River.
…In freshly elected Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, we have a player who broke in as a smallish, skinny catcher who didn’t hit many home runs, then suddenly became a muscles-swollen slugger who hit lots of home runs, then, after money-first Selig pretended to be the last to know, became a muscles-deflated catcher who didn’t hit a lot of home runs.
…So sports’ most sanctified of shrines, which just honored I-see-nothing Selig with E-ZPass entry, continues to compromise its standards.
Can we get a summary of that column?
1. Clay Travis thinks Curt Schilling would be elected to Hall of Fame if he was liberal: Yep, we’ve found an even hotter Hall of Fame take, and unsurprisingly, it’s from overall standings leader (non-Whitlock division) Clay Travis:
“It’s not illegal to have the views he has. It’s not like he’s advocating for an insanity like mass overthrow of the government or anything else, he just happens to be a right-wing conservative,” Travis said. “If he were out here in the March For Women arguing that Hilary Clinton was the rightful President of America he’d be a Hall of Famer right now.”
Notable absences: Shannon Sharpe, JT The Brick, Doug Gottlieb. Welcome back, Colin Cowherd; it’s been too long.
Hot Take Standings:
Clay Travis – 37
Stephen A. Smith – 30
Phil Mushnick – 27
Skip Bayless – 24
Shannon Sharpe – 15
JT The Brick – 9
Doug Gottlieb – 8
Don Cherry – 7
Ray Lewis – 7
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Colin Cowherd – 5
Erril Laborde – 5
Lowell Cohn – 5
Rosie DiManno – 5
Doug Gottlieb – 5
C.J. Nitkowski – 5
Frank Isola – 5
FanSided – 4
Cris Carter – 4
Kirk Herbstreit – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
Mike Felger – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Jeff Mans – 3
Danny Kanell – 3
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 3
Rob Parker – 3
Chris Broussard – 3
Charles Barkley – 3
Joe Browne – 3
Dan Dakich – 3
Michael DeCourcy – 3
Mike Harrington – 3
Bob Ryan – 3
Bart Hubbuch – 3
Greg Mitchell – 3
Seth Davis – 2
Jon Heyman – 2
Jason La Canfora – 2
Dan Wolken – 2
Booger McFarland – 2
Joe Schad – 2
Cork Gaines – 2
Tune in next week for more This Week In Hot Takes. As always, you can send submissions to me here.