Michael Bennett speaks to ‘The Breakfast Club’
Seahawks defensive lineman covers a wide range of topics on sports and politics
You know Michael Bennett. He’s the Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman who wears dashikis on TV, has pulled out of NFL events because of his personal beliefs and generally speaks up about what he feels is right and wrong in America. He’s a smart dude and also knows when not to take himself too seriously. Overall, a good dude.
You also know The Breakfast Club, the radio show based in New York City featuring Charlamagne Tha God, who recently penned a book called Black Privilege. Well-known for stirring up controversy, the sit-down with Bennett was guaranteed to be solid. It was.
It was a wide-ranging conversation in which Bennett touched on all sorts of topics, from Colin Kaepernick to 21 Savage.
“Of course I think Kaepernick’s being blackballed,” Bennett said when asked about the former 49ers quarterback. “Obviously, all the stuff to do with the issues, nobody likes race and politics in sports. I think that’s one of the things that nobody really wants to talk about. For him to bring [it] up, I think it struck a lot of people in the wrong way. I mean, the people that really watch football, it’s middle America. … And for him to bring that into that crowd was one thing that people felt like shouldn’t have been there.”
Overall, he’s just a guy doing all this because it feels right and he wants to set a good example for the people who matter most to him: his family.
“I don’t want my daughters to look back and be like, ‘Where were you when they were talking about Black Lives Matter?’ ” Bennett said. ” ‘Where were you when they were talking about women’s equality?’ I want my daughter to be like, ‘Daddy, thank you for being a man that stood up at the time when it was time to stand up.’
“You can’t really care about the Nikes, the brands that are behind you. Because those brands, they’re going to outlive you. That’s just how it is. Your legacy in your community is what’s going to live on, and that’s important for you to always think about.”
Oh, and he’s writing a book called Things That Make White People Uncomfortable. Welp.
Athletes forced to make a choice: sports or their passion
The NCAA is not interested in well-rounded individuals
2:41 PMIt’s a well-known fact that the NCAA is ruthless when it comes to shutting down any potential extra money its student-athletes might be making outside of their athletic endeavors. They’ve bastardized the concept of amateurism to the point of no return, creating a matrix of morality that allows them to penalize a student-athlete for daring to dream beyond the concept of a roster spot.
In the past week, two cases have highlighted this completely unfair setup.
You might already be familiar with Dylan and Dakota Gonzalez. The twins started their basketball careers at Kansas, transferred together to the University of Nevada Las Vegas and are singers. Because of what they look like, and the fact that Dylan used to date New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis, the two are popular on the Instagram-adjacent sports media blog circuit.
SPEAKING OUT: Dakota and I made the decision to forego our last year playing basketball at UNLV, and ya know what, it breaks my heart. REGARDLESS of what any of you naysayers think Dakota and I have put so much time and energy, struggle and heartache,sweat and love and tears into this game that has always been and will always be a part of our life. We worked our asses off to get to where we are. But because of the NCAA and the ancient set of rules that has yet to evolve with the rest of time, our hand has been forced to make the tough choice to go on and build a foundation to pursue our musical careers outside of basketball. If I could do both I would trust me and 9.9 out of 10 of you could never really understand the half of how bad it is and why it's IMPOSSIBLE. Still much love to my university, shout out to ET, my coaches,Tina the AD, and the rest at UNLV who tried to make it the best situation for us. Now, with God by our sides, it's onto the next chapter… #TheCrossover #AreYouOnTheTeam #II #Gonz
They decided to skip playing basketball during their senior years to pursue their music careers, which, for my money, are legit. Internet fame aside, these two are certainly talented enough to make an attempt at doing music for a living, no doubt about it. But the NCAA intoned that they were somehow using their “platform” as student-athletes to promote their endeavors. … Quick, name the last team to win the women’s college basketball Mountain West Conference title. Exactly. (It was Boise State, btw.)
The two recently did an interview with Slam magazine about what their lives are like now. It’s a very real look into how controlled you can feel as a student-athlete by the governing body, for doing nothing that would be considered illegal by any stretch. But God forbid we don’t protect the oh-so-important integrity of NCAA amateurism. What’s particularly disheartening is to hear about how the NCAA has effectively killed their love of basketball to an extent.
Moving down south to Orlando, Florida, there’s the case of Donald De La Haye. He’s the University of Central Florida’s kicker with his own YouTube channel. The content of his blog is quite literally videos of him doing things that are required of him as a member of the football team. He’s managed to make the mundane life of being a college kicker rather interesting, while also allowing himself a creative outlet. Now he’s under pressure to close the account because the NCAA told him, according to Deadspin, it “make[s] it obvious that I’m a student-athlete.”
That logic is so laughably ridiculous it’s almost bizarre. So you can’t do activities that are outside of the scope of your athletic scholarship, but you also can’t highlight the fact that you are a student-athlete? What are they supposed to do, just sit in a dark room until it’s time to practice and play?
According to the NCAA core values, as listed on its website, part of its goal is to create “an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student-athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds.”
In short, as evidenced by the cases of the Gonzalez twins and De La Haye — that’s a lie.
Daily Dose: 6/13/17
Ice Cube honored on Hollywood Walk of Fame
12:31 PMMina Kimes dropped by The Undefeated office yesterday and we went to Starbucks. We ordered. Then: 👀👀👀 — wired. Those nitro cold brews are so potent that you can’t even serve them in the venti size because it’s too much caffeine.
Now that the Golden State Warriors are NBA champions, let the victory lap begin. They did not blow a 3-1 lead, so we can put that aside. Kevin Durant did win Finals MVP, so you can’t honestly say that he rode anyone else’s coattails on the way there. If they didn’t have Durant, they probably would have lost. You can save your competitive balance drama for your mama, because the Warriors are a tremendous team. Period. And LeBron James still managed to dominate the series statistically. We’ll see if they go to the White House to celebrate.
Before the East Coast/West Coast rap beef tore apart the industry, Ice Cube and Chuck D teamed up with Big Daddy Kane to drop a song that I’ll never forget when I first saw the video. Titled “Burn, Hollywood Burn,” it’s a look at how racist and stereotypical portrayals of black people in television and film contribute to our poor treatment by authorities and the population in general. Now, nearly 30 years later, it’s Cube himself who’s getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He’s done his part to make this better. Good for him.
In my life, I’ve been lucky enough to dodge surgery. They always say that a routine procedure really just means any procedure that isn’t being executed on you. I have had many friends and family members who’ve gone through these kinds of things, and the fear factor is always high. Basically, you just never know. When you get out on the other side, it’s time to celebrate, fam. Which is why this video of a young man who just underwent successful heart surgery nearly brought me to tears. The encouraging words of his mother are incredible.
I have no idea why Dennis Rodman is so obsessed with North Korea. I’m going to presume it’s because he somehow keeps finding paychecks out of that nation, but these basketball diplomacy visits have become a bit ridiculous. He’s now there again, claiming he wants to open a door for President Donald Trump, whom he formerly worked for on the television show The Celebrity Apprentice. Again, television programs are not necessarily real life, and this is definitely the case when it comes to a despotic leader who has zero interest in world peace.
Coffee Break: Remember when we found out that Kevin Durant used to date The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay? Well, as it turns out, she was at the game Monday night with a friend and definitely shared the fun with folks on social media. Let’s just hope her new fiancé wasn’t with her, as that would be a tad awk.
Snack Time: It was only a matter of time before Facebook got into the business of original content programming. Now, former MTV star Nicole Byer might be getting her old show revived as part of their new push. That’s cool.
Dessert: If you loved John Saunders as much as I did, you need to read this story about his posthumous memoir.
Daily Dose: 6/12/17
DeMario’s disastrous year on camera continues
12:53 PMThe Morning Roast was exciting this week, with Mina Kimes back on the East Coast for some family stuff. But I’ll also be filling in for Bomani Jones on The Right Time on Thursday and Friday, so if you’re into solo Yates, set your alarms.
Another week in Washington that we can expect to get hectic. Ivanka Trump was on Fox and Friends this morning, saying that she didn’t expect D.C. to be so vicious in terms of how people acted. Yeah, this is the big leagues. Speaking of, as it turns out, one of President Donald Trump’s insiders is trying to get involved with the FBI building contract, which is clearly a conflict on so many levels. Also, Maryland and D.C.’s attorneys general are suing Trump. Meanwhile, the notion of firing special counsel Robert Mueller is seriously under consideration.
So, things are getting very dicey in Bachelor Nation. One of the spinoff shows, Bachelor in Paradise, has had production halted amid allegations of sexual misconduct. First off, this is really disheartening. After all, it was the most fun show in the franchise, and to think that it’s spiraled out of control to the point of making people unsafe is really sad. Secondly, the story is no joke. I won’t wildly spread rumors, but what I’ve heard makes it seem like that show, and possibly the franchise, might end up being done forever. Details are extremely bad for DeMario.
While last weekend was Pride, there were also graduations to be had. (It is also the one-year anniversary of the Pulse shootings in Orlando, Florida. Condolences.) And for one student in Washington, D.C., since the two things fell in the same window, he gave the crowd a little extra on that commencement stage, and it was absolutely glorious. Every time I see one of these, it makes me wish I had done something ridiculous when I walked at 18 just to be able to say I did. I would hire this kid instantly.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup Sunday night on the Nashville Predators’ home ice. It was a decent skate, but it was marred by a really bad call that took a goal off the boards for the Preds, which would have opened the scoring and given them the lead. Instead, it was called back because of a random whistle, which is such an awful rule. On top of that, it can actually be reviewed and corrected, and the league chose not to do that. I can’t even imagine how angry I’d be if I were a Preds fan. They got jobbed. It was a good run, though, for sure.
Coffee Break: When I was a kid, you either held planes in your hand and acted like you were flying them or you let someone else do the flying of whatever super mechanical toy you had and let them handle the hard part. But one guy (an engineer) put together a model Lego Space Shuttle and made it fly, which is tremendous.
Snack Time: In its rush to sign more talent, Amazon decided that it was going to sign a bunch of Indian comics. Alas, none were women. Not one among the 14. So Netflix went out and got Aditi Mittal. Well played, and smart.
Dessert: On this day in 1990, Mariah Carey dropped her eponymous first album. The rest is history.
‘Black Panther’ teaser trailer is serving looks
Marvel blessed us during the NBA Finals, and it’s visually stunning
We were sitting around a table, casually discussing whatever we had to catch up as a group of friends. We weren’t all facing the television, so one person said, “Shut up, the Black Panther teaser is on.” Another friend continued, not realizing that this wasn’t just the first time he’d seen it, but the first time anyone had. “Look, I’ll address that after this ends,” he was told again. We all stared.
I don’t really remember if it was between the first two quarters of the game or somewhere in the second, because it felt like time stopped. At the point where Chadwick Boseman is executing whatever midair flip in slow motion he was doing, my body naturally stood up from the table and gravitated toward the television that was hanging on a wall in the bar. By the time it was done I turned around to look at the squad, and we all had the same looks on our faces.
“Holy s—, that was incredible.”
Black Panther was real and happening, and it looked amazing. The game instantly became a secondary conversation to what we’d just witnessed from the Marvel Universe. What I enjoyed so much about it was that it appealed to everyone, off the break. Of course, there are serious megafans of the comics who will have various things to deconstruct and dislike, but coming out of the gate, the clear distinctions were great.
For one, Wakanda is clearly not some Third World wasteland. Its technological advancements are clearly on par with most things in that universe, which is dope. This is the capital city, and vibranium, the mineral that the nation has major reserves of, allows it to stay on the cusp of what’s modern. Also, look. At. That. Ship. The last thing we wanted was a bunch of souped-up tribesmen to further create disastrous stereotypes in the superhero world.
Here are some of our favorite still shots.
Wait till y’all see me at the function next spring rocking this joint until Future’s “Mask Off” comes on. Then I’m turning all the way up.
This is a look goal if I’ve ever seen one. Lupita Nyong’o, no stranger to action movies, is not here for your nonsense.
When you’re trying to address the congregation but someone’s phone keeps going off.
Oh, that’s my phone? Do something. That’s what I thought.
When you waited all weekend to get fly for your little friend at school and they were home sick that day.
Meanwhile, the shade being thrown is predictable and, in many cases, very funny. What folks act like when this movie comes out is going to be serious. Nobody in America is ready for the squad cosplay that the film could bring to the theaters and premieres. It’ll be the blackest big-budget superhero movie. Not to mention it’s actually about a fictional African place. Believe that folks will be deep at the box office. And it comes out during Black History Month? Sheeeeeeee … just kidding. That doesn’t matter at all.
In all seriousness, that moment Friday night was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. My phone was blowing up with texts, and my whole TL was taken over by Wakanda jokes and the like. We don’t need that Coming to America remake. Black Panther, from the looks of it, will do just fine. This is dope, though.
This is a full shot-by-shot breakdown of the teaser trailer with story analysis. It’s with director Ryan Coogler and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
The Morning Roast: 6/11/17
Will the NBA Finals end Monday?
9:57 AMWhen I walked into the studio Sunday, Domonique Foxworth was halfway done with his venti iced coffee already and we still had a half-hour until the show. I knew it was going to be a wild one because he was yelling at me already and it wasn’t even close to go time, ha ha. And Mina Kimes was on the East Coast? Yeah, it was dope.
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In the first hour, we broke down what happened in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, which the Cleveland Cavaliers won, sending the series back to Oakland, which would allow the Golden State Warriors to win the series on their home floor. But Friday night in Cleveland was a strange one, in a game that included a bunch of technicals and an appearance from Khloe Kardashian, which Jeff Van Gundy appreciated. He came to her and her family’s defense over the matter of their so-called “kurse,” which was classy of him.
Also, I defended my love of 3-on-3 basketball — which is not streetball, by the way – and its addition to the 2020 Olympics, while Mina called it every name in the book other than trash. In all seriousness though, being the only one who’s ever watched it with any regularity, I’m looking forward to it becoming a medal sport, personally. Some people think it might require NBA stars to be important, but I don’t know.
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There’s a question as to whether LeBron James might actually leave the Cavaliers to go somewhere else at this point in his career, but there is also the question about what happens if the Warriors manage to blow this. Let’s not forget that they had a 3-1 lead last year and got beat three straight games. We all know this. But this year is a tad different because they were up 3-0, first. In general though, this leads to a larger question about what the Warriors’ legacy is going to be since they weren’t perfect through the playoffs.
Outside of the hoops world, there was a soccer game last night, and a men’s World Cup qualifier at that. The United States traveled to Mexico to take on El Tri at Azteca Stadium, which is always an adventure. We discussed it with ESPN FC’s Sebastian Salazar ahead of the game, who also talked about what effect Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic is going to have on the national team now that he’s made his mark and broken through to the starting lineup.
Lastly, as a result of Domonique not being a fan of Ray Charles’ hit “Hit the Road, Jack” as the go-to arena song when players are ejected from games, we decided to workshop it. The results were glorious. We broke down the Top 5 songs for ejections we’d love to hear. It ranged from Sarah McLachlan to Ludacris. Loved this segment.
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The third hour began with a convo with Kyle Wagner of FiveThirtyEight.com (aka the Math Boys) about the NBA Finals. The numbers surrounding each team at its best are fascinating, and in general, the use of their model is always interesting to learn about. He basically said their prediction is it’s impossible for the Cavs to come back, save one factor: LeBron. Exactly.
Of course, we had to talk The Bachelorette, which means we got to hear the return of Christian Yates, who was just returning from the opera the previous night. We learned of his dinner selection and the wine pairing, too. In reality though, pardon the pun, the whole scenario surrounding that show has taken a slimy hit, and Domonique learned about just how awkward the whole thing is going to be going forward regarding Lee and his bigoted tweets and how that will affect the house. All this before we learned about the Bachelor in Paradise news, which is a real mess.
Basketball, soccer and dating. Enjoy!
Derek Fisher is back at it again
and the former NBA coach was driving Matt Barnes’ car when arrested for DUI
3:57 PMAlready a first-ballot Dirty Mack Hall of Famer, Derek Fisher is gunning for the unanimous selection. Not only is Fisher still dating his former teammate Matt Barnes’ ex-wife, but he’s now driving Barnes’ cars around too — and crashing them at that, according to TMZ. Look, as someone who’s crashed a car and nearly died, I realize this isn’t something to joke around with, but come on. Derek, what you doing?
Fisher is officially in the Hall of Fame. Let’s not forget the other parts of this story. Gloria Govan is the ex-wife of Barnes, the Golden State Warriors forward. She is now dating Fisher. Two years ago, Barnes drove 95 miles to administer a beatdown to Fisher after his kids called him saying they were uncomfortable with Fisher at the house, a house that Barnes owns. Fisher got touched up enough to miss a New York Knicks practice. It contributed to why he was let go by the Knicks.
But dag, Derek. You don’t have your own cars to drive around? Gloria, her house and kids weren’t enough? Clearly, Fisher has zero regard for what Barnes thinks about him on any level. The savagery is so real.
Daily Dose: 6/9/17
NASA selects black woman as part of new astronaut class
11:05 AMI’m in Bristol, Connecticut, on Friday to appear on Outside The Lines, so if you’re around a television at 1 p.m. EST, tune in to give your boy a look-see talking about the best stories of the week. I will not be wearing a hat this time, I promise.
In the classic film White Men Can’t Jump, there is much trash talk. And in one particular scene, a guy decides that “your mama’s an astronaut” is a serious insult. It’s so off the wall and ridiculous that his opponent takes mega offense and loses it. But let’s be clear, being an astronaut is awesome. And for Jessica Watkins, her childhood dream of becoming one just came true. A researcher at the California Institute of Technology, she was one of 12 people picked by NASA for its newest class. This story is so excellent that it makes me want to cry.
If you don’t know who Gwen Bunn is, you will soon. She’s a producer, an artist and a songwriter who came to fame when she linked up with Top Dawg Entertainment’s ScHoolboy Q for the song “Collard Greens.” But she chose to stay independent instead of signing with a big label because she wants to maintain her flexibility as an artist. Here’s a cool story about how she got there. But, while you’re here, make absolutely sure you check out SZA’s new album CTRL, because it’s incredible.
When it comes to being progressive, the NBA is as good as any league in the U.S. And not just in terms of what its players are saying when the cameras are on, but also in regard to what happens behind the scenes to keep their league diverse. Now a few teams are working with Jopwell, which places minority candidates in positions with major firms. And they don’t just work with the NBA. They’ve got agreements with the U.S. Tennis Association, and in general they keep these pipelines open. Half of the startup team is a former Yale guard.
Last night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, something foul happened. At one point, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators decided to renew their little rivalry in a game that was otherwise a blowout. Sid The Kid at one point was grinding Subban’s head into the ice as a way to tweak him. OK, whatever. But then NBC’s Mike Milbury gets on the camera saying that he deserved it, for God knows what reason. Oh, wait. Yeah, Milbury’s the reason that hockey will be forever stuck in the Stone Age.
Coffee Break: It’s summertime now, so you’re going to be dealing with something that we all hate: bugs. Whether it’s keeping them off your body, out of your food or out of your house, they’re a problem. Some of us use the old magazine/newspaper method for the latter, but if you’re a humane person, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has something you can work with.
Snack Time: There are people actually paying money to walk around Brooklyn, New York, in tour groups as part of some “ghetto safari” experience, and these people are the worst. I’m so angry at just the concept, never mind execution.
Dessert: Sometimes, it’s rough with the fam. But we’re all gonna make it if we try. Happy weekend, kiddos.