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February 10, 2017

Rating the Takes: Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning on Shaunae Miller’s dive for gold

The biggest issue with contemporary media isn’t the abundance of “fake news.” That’s been around as long as there have been dumb people. No, folks, the greatest threat to modern journalism is its reliance on hot takes.

Sure, some takes are good. And they are to be absorbed; their makers lauded. But hot takes are like the mythical Hydra. For every good one you read, process and pocket for later discourse, many more appear that are completely awful. So it’s up to us, as citizens and consumers of #content to separate the mental wheat from the chaff.

With that in mind and with the Shaunae Miller racing at this weekend’s Millrose Games, we decided to re-visit some terrible takes from this summer’s dramatic women’s 400 meter Olympic final. And yes, we maybe a little behind the eight-ball on this one, but it’s important to shut down bad takes, both past and present.

When this video was brought to our attention from the guys at House of Run, I knew there would be atrocious takes. It’s from August, 2016 and is from “Ebro in the Morning,” the morning talk show on NYC’s local hip-hop station Hot 97.

As a periodically engaged Hot 97 listener while living in Brooklyn, I feel I have a B-minus-level understanding of the station’s formatting: an unbeatable mix of old school and new hip-hop, interspersed with on-air personalities dropping purposefully awful takes with the intent of drawing in callers. Is it generally thought-provoking? No. Is it a major step above most local radio shows where callers identify celebrity fart noises? Yes.

Before ranking the takes presented here, let’s just get the correct take out in the open — it was baffling during the summer Games, but people were genuinely split on the issue of Shaunae Miller diving for gold in the women’s 400m, and passionately so. The correct take is that diving across the finish line in a race is good, if it works. Simple as that. Okay, let’s get to it!

  1. Rosenberg’s take is most similar to the correct one established above. He wins on grounds of logic and verdict reached. Plus he admits he doesn’t know much about track, except that it’s within the rules to dive. That’s how you humanize a take, baby!
  2. Laura Stylez possesses a decent take. Little did in fact sense herself getting rubbery in the leg department, and so falling forward at the line was the most efficient way to continue forward, for the remaining distance of the race.
  3. Victor from the Bronx loses points only by addressing legacy. Obviously winning is how you cement yourself as great. Although it’s impressive that he tied in a pretty obscure moment from a volleyball game to help bolster his take.
  4. Pharrell from Brooklyn’s take relies too much on enthusiasm and cliche. Diving across a line doesn’t mean wanting something more. If Allison Felix dove in this race, she would have just fallen face-first into the track a few feet shy of the finish and still lost because she ran most of the race too slow to win. But all eight women in the field probably wanted to win the same amount.
  5. Shani Kulture is cut off every time he speaks, so it’s difficult to really fathom the implications of his various takes. This is a wash.
  6. Laura Stylez’ bell is inanimate and doesn’t even really work that well as a bell, but it doesn’t express an explicitly wrong take, so it’s firmly in the middle.
  7. Ebro is right, but for the wrong reason. And since takes should be judged on the quality of their content, as well as the soundness and consistency of their logic, that disqualifies him from having the best take. He argues that Miller’s dive is okay because the Bahamas don’t get many Olympic medals. Fair. But we don’t bend the rules of engagement in sports simply because one opponent is deemed weaker.
  8. Danielle from Brooklyn with the interesting but wrong take. Sounds like an answer from Clue. But it doesn’t matter. Track isn’t swimming, and with the exception of more technical events, it doesn’t matter how you get from point-A to point-B, as long as you’re only propelling yourself forward with your body. Is it called the 400 meter fall? No. But that doesn’t matter. Points for having a strong sense of principle, if nothing else.
  9. Ebro’s unnamed lady and Rosenberg’s unnamed wife both apparently were anti-dive, and though we aren’t given the logic behind their second-hand-takes, we know them to be wrong, regardless.
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