The takes, they’re so bad

Merrill Hoge, he's got a fat tie knot and dumb takes. (Courtesy ESPN)

It must be August.

I know this because ESPN talking heads are fired up for the NFL season, but they have nothing to actually talk about.

Which brings me to Friday, when one of the oversized tie knots the Worldwide Leader employs, Merrill Hoge, posited, “Nobody’s ever won this, nobody’s ever played with drugs, messed with drugs, had drugs be their friend and won.”

Perhaps he was talking about the latest twist in a sad story of addiction among former athletes — like Doc Gooden, William “The Fridge” Perry or countless others.

But, of course, he wasn’t. He was admonishing Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott about stepping foot in a recreational marijuana store in Seattle.

Elliott was captured by TMZ’s cameras walking into Herban Legends in the Emerald City hours before the Boys’ preseason game against the Seahawks. He didn’t buy anything, as far as anyone can tell, but that didn’t stop a Hot Taker like Hoge from getting on his soapbox.

(For its part, Deadspin overlaid Hoge’s silly words over shots of some of the best athletes in the world accepting the highest honors. The video includes several players with Northern California connections: Former Cal running back Marshawn Lynch, Golden State sharpshooter Klay Thompson, UFC fighter Nick Diaz and former Giants Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum to go along with Olympic hero Michael Phelps.)

But the thing that irks me is that it’s such an asinine position to stake. Weed shops in Seattle are a tourist attraction. Elliott spent his entire life in the midwest before being drafted to America’s Team in Texas. Marijuana-friendly areas are a novelty to him. Why would you scold him for seeing how a different culture lives? When the Cowboys come to the Bay Area in Week 4, will the reaction be the same if he strolls through Haight and Ashbury?

I understand that I’m falling in Hoge’s trap by saying his name and de facto rewarding him for dishing out stupid thoughts to keep his profile high. But what I can’t decide is if I dislike him for working a few months out of the year as a logically bankrupt Skip Bayless or if I respect him for setting up such an easy racket?

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Merrill Hoge, he's got a fat tie knot and dumb takes. (Courtesy ESPN)

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