Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes. This time around, we’re breaking down the hottest takes from March 15-21.Don Cherry criticizes William Nylander and Oskar Lindblom for talking to each other, says “They’re having a little love-fest, they look like they’re going to kiss each other”: After weeks of complaining about the Carolina Hurricanes’ supposedly attention-seeking celebrations (funny, considering that his whole career defines “attention-seeking”), Sportsnet’s Don Cherry has moved on to another dumb complaint. This week on Hockey Night In Canada, while dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day, Cherry decided to criticize the Toronto Maple Leafs’ William Nylander and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Oskar Lindblom for talking to each other ahead of a faceoff, and did so in a problematic wa
First off, players talking to each opponents is nothing new in hockey or in countless other sports (baseball regularly sees runners chatting with infielders and hitters chatting with catchers, basketball sees plenty of back-and-forth talk, etc), and it’s unclear why Cherry decided to go after these guys. Maybe them being Swedish was part of it, as Cherry’s long been known for his complaints about European players. But beyond that, the tone associated with “they look like they’re going to kiss each other” felt real homophobic. It’s yet another bad look for the 85-year-old Cherry, and yet another reason to question why he still has a high-profile analysis job.
Linking player contracts directly to concession prices is absurd in general; concession prices are about how much money owners can get out of fans and how much fans will be willing to pay, while player contracts are about how much money players can get out of the revenues owners are making (most of which aren’t from the concessions). But Trout is a particularly bad case in point to cite here, as Angels Stadium has $4.50 16-ounce beers; owner Arte Moreno cut those prices in his first act as owner 16 years ago, and hasn’t raised them since. So, no, Mike Trout’s new contract doesn’t have much to do with the price of beer.
Players really can’t win with some of these pundits; if they head to a talented team in free agency, they’re criticized for not having “loyalty” or just “chasing rings,” and if they stick with the team they’re with, they’re bashed for being “just about the money.”
But beyond that, Trout is plenty relevant, much more so than Cowherd. Cowherd’s move to FS1 has seen a dramatic decrease in his national profile, and it’s notable that The Herd on Tuesday (the day he made these remarks) didn’t make the top 150 cable programs for that day. The only FS1 show to even get in those ratings that day was Undisputed, at 131st overall with a 0.07 rating in the keydemographic of viewers 18-49, and 138,000 viewers overall. So Cowherd’s show was seen by less people than such quality programming as Lifetime’s Married At First Sight: Love Unlocked, Science Channel’s Secrets of the Lost discussion of Stonehenge, and ESPN2’s coverage of a Arkansas-Providence NIT game. Who’s the “rich and irrelevant” figure in the Los Angeles area again?
Meanwhile, over on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith once again displayed his tremendous knowledge of sports, talking with colleague Jeff Passan about the Trout contract and claiming that Mike Scioscia (who stepped down after the 2018 season) was still managing the Angels:Jeff Schultz argues that LSU “brought evidence of the sport’s seedy underbelly with them,” and that Yale’s involvement in the admissions scandal was “cute Ivy-level cheating”: With the LSU Tigers in the NCAA tournament despite suspending head coach Will Wade after a Yahoo report of his comments on a FBI wiretap that appeared to indicate him referencing a financial offer to a prospect, plenty of media have lined up to defend “amateurism” and jump all over LSU as supposed cheaters. Criticizing Wade for allegedly breaking NCAA rules can be a defensible take, but the takes have gotten much hotter than that, with Jeff Schultz (formerly of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, now with The Athletic) providing one of the most heated.
Schultz argued that LSU brought the sport’s “seedy underbelly” with them into the tournament (despite Wade not being with the team and despite no players being suspended at this point). Even more heatedly, he claimed the Tigers were the ones “central to a federal corruption investigation” in first-round matchup with Yale. Yale was implicated in the much more serious admissions scandal, which saw unqualified people get into schools instead of deserving athletic prospects thanks to bribes, and which actually led to federal indictments (including of long-time Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith, who resigned last November after 24 years in charge of the team), but according to Schultz, that’s just “cute Ivy-level cheating“: