Merril Hoge led the way in hot takes for April 12-18.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes. This time, we’re looking at the hottest takes from April 12 to 18.

5. Pierre McGuire says “At this point in the game it’s not an analytics sport, it’s a character sport“: NBC’s McGuire has long been known for bashing hockey analytics, and he continued that this week in the Blue Jackets-Lightning series:

There could maybe be a point here if McGuire was pointing out specific advanced analytics he didn’t think were relevant to the situation. But he didn’t do that, just saying “it’s not an analytics sport.” Hate to break it to you, Pierre, but a lot of advanced hockey analytics are focused on possession (or “winning battles”), and  “analytics” in general is just “the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics.” As the world’s foremost distributor of data about where NHL players played junior hockey, it’s interesting that McGuire is so negative on other data that’s much more meaningful.

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Aaron Taylor says Kyler Murray could fall out of the first round if he isn’t picked first overall: The NFL draft often leads to some out-there takes, and this one from CBSSN’s Aaron Taylor is no exception:

Yes, different teams have different valuations on players, and yes, Murray might be a particularly good fit for new Cardinals’ head coach Kliff Kingsbury. But “possibly fall all the way out of the first round” is a huge stretch. Murray’s been widely projected to go first overall, and even if he doesn’t, it seems extremely unlikely that he wouldn’t be taken until at least the 33rd overall pick. There have been a whole lot of quarterbacks with bigger question marks than Murray who have gone in the first round, and the idea of a player projected either as #1 or #33 or after is insane. Taylor could have had a fair point with “he could possibly fall,” but “all the way out of the first round” is a hot take.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. Michael Rapaport says “The only thing [Ben] Simmons has won is a Kardashian”: Noted internet provocateur Michael Rapaport is at it again, this time showing up on FS1’s Undisputed with some strange criticisms of Philadelphia 76ers’ guard Ben Simmons.

This is an exceptionally dumb version of “count the rings,” which is a dumb argument to begin with. Who Simmons is dating isn’t important, and he’s only 22 and has only been in the NBA for three seasons (including his rookie year, where he didn’t play after an injury). There can be other things you can criticize the Sixers for, especially after their Game 2 loss to the Nets Monday, but this is a lame one. (Oh, and they won by 16 points last night, so Rapaport’s rant is already a bit off target.)

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

2. Randal Grichuk and Danny Kanell offer silly anti-celebration takes: Baseball celebrations were in focus this week thanks to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hitting a home run, celebrating with a bat flip, and then getting drilled and ejected. Toronto Blue Jays’ outfielder Randal Grichuk weighed in on this in an extremely dumb way, throwing out a tweet that seemed like a particular criticism of Anderson and then getting annoyed when Anderson responded:

Grichuk then doubled down in comments to media:

“Go about it the right way” is a lot of garbage, as who’s to say that Grichuk’s way is “right” and Anderson’s isn’t? But it’s also particularly ridiculous that Grichuk did this and then was “shocked” that people were annoyed with him trying to restrict how other players celebrate. He’s not the only one with anti-celebration takes, though, as CBS Sports HQ’s Danny Kanell also delivered one of those:

Well, Danny, slippery slope arguments are a bad idea in general, but “everyone jumping around” in celebration sure seems to have ruined the popularity of football and basketball, right?

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥 for both

1. Merril Hoge says “We’re allowing a university to cheat, lie and abuse/suppress science”: Former NFL player and ESPN analyst Merril Hoge has been ranting against concussion research for a long time, even co-writing a book called “Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football” last year (which is pretty much as bad as you’d think). This week, he took that to a new level, bashing the Boston University team that’s led much of this research and claiming in a rally in front of the Massachusetts State House that “we’re allowing a university to cheat, lie and suppress science.”

There’s no compelling evidence for any of that, and really, the main “suppress science” here feels like it’s more from Hoge and his ilk for regularly going after concussion research. If anyone wanted to see “what if anti-vaxxers, but sports?”, here you are…

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Honorable mention: David Shoalts is upset the NHL has games on Easter:

Games have been played on Easter and other religious holidays forever, without any noticeable decline in ratings, and it’s pretty silly to say that leagues should avoid one religion’s holiday but not others. This may not be ideal for Shoalts, but extending that to “the fans’ interests” is ridiculous; there will be plenty who will happily watch Sunday, regardless of religion or family plans. Just because it doesn’t work for you doesn’t make it a bad move.

Hot Take Standings:

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 242
Skip Bayless – 203
Phil Mushnick – 181
Colin Cowherd – 84
Rob Parker – 59
Doug Gottlieb – 53
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Don Cherry – 30
Albert Breer – 29
Dan Shaughnessy – 26
Ray Lewis – 25
Charles Barkley – 24
Danny Kanell – 24
Darren Rovell – 20
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Mike Francesa – 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
Michael Wilbon – 12
Michael Rapaport – 11
John Middlekauff – 11
Keith Olbermann – 11
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Pierre McGuire – 2
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 is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.