What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

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.

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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

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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.

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.

Free Food

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.

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Daily Dose: 6/8/17

Sen. Kamala Harris steals the show at Comey hearing

12:55 PMThe bars were packed in Washington, D.C., to watch of a bunch of politicians talk. Adults, babies, reporters, everyone. Wild.

James Comey was ready for his close-up. On Wednesday, the former FBI chief submitted his written testimony about what he felt happened between himself and President Donald Trump, with some interesting details about a dinner they had. There were also references to Russian sex workers, which we all know is a pretty salacious topic. But he didn’t even read that statement, instead making different opening remarks that basically included him saying that Trump was dishonest. This is all obviously a huge deal. California Sen. Kamala Harris was the real star, tho.

Typically, if I’ve had a few drinks, I smoke cigarettes. It’s something I’ve done since college and have on occasion put down, but I justify the smoking by saying it’s something that only happens when I drink, which is true. I otherwise find smoking pretty gross. But what is that? Is there such a thing as addiction that’s dependent on something else? Sort of like how every time I eat yogurt I immediately want mandarin oranges? It turns out it has to do with your memory as much as anything. Weird.

In case you forgot, Bill Cosby is still on trial. Andrea Constand, the woman who worked for Temple’s basketball team and accused the comedian of raping her, took the stand this week. But Wednesday, her mother did too. And while she was on the stand, she testified about a conversation she had with Cosby after her daughter told her what happened. Frankly, the details are horrifying and you’re left with the conclusion that Bill just didn’t see anything wrong with what he did. Which is the scary part.

The Stanley Cup Final resumes Thursday night, and the Nashville Predators officially made it a series. They not only won two in a row against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home to tie the series, but they also did so in glorious fashion, including a 5-1 bangout in Game 3 that had Nashville going completely wild. Now they go back to Pittsburgh, and things have changed entirely. But let’s be clear, this is not some flash-in-the-pan situation for the Preds. Their comeback is very real, and there are people in this world who think they could actually win the Stanley Cup.

Free Food

Coffee Break: We love sports kids, but sometimes they get overexposed. Some children want to be just that, without letting the fame of their parents affect who they are. But for some kids, the spotlight is natural and warranted. Now, Chris Paul’s and Dwyane Wade’s sons have a web show together. It’s great.

Snack Time: Everyday Struggle is continuing its way into making it one of the more important hip-hop shows of record across the diaspora. They had SZA on recently; she’s got a new album out, and we learned about crystals.

Dessert: Alchemist has a big new project coming out, which means I’ll be buying a new Alchemist project.

Top Dawg Entertainment’s studio rules are giving us life

Also, ScHoolboy Q is a fool with it

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Top Dawg Entertainment, record-label home of Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q among others, is doing it big these days. King Kenny is obviously a major superstar right now, and Q is still holding it down. In an interview with Montreality, an extremely stoned ScHoolboy explains various things, from how he lost his virginity to the fact that a full Black Hippy group album will likely not happen. Overall, the video is funny.

But more importantly, the regulations posted for their studio are hilarious. Over the years, hip-hop and the music industry in general have legendary stories about over-the-top sessions, but these rules are fantastic. I’m here for random clips of the guidelines and quirks that rappers are dealing with while they handle their creative process. It’s far more interesting to me than, say, what they have on their concert riders.

It reminds me of my high school, where in the senior lounge, in the corner with the couch and the video games, we had to establish some order after the first week. There were two TVs and three game systems, so when you had a bunch of dumb kids in there trying to assert their gaming dominance, arguments of fairness frequently came up. So one day, I wrote the Unacceptable Excuses for the nearest wall. I can remember them to this day.

  1. My controller’s messed up. There’s always going to be something kinda glitchy with a couple of the sticks in a shared space that’s not your house, so deal with it, pleighboi.
  2. These aren’t my settings. Dudes would love to think they were slick when they lost and sneaked this stupid reasoning in. It applied in maybe 5 percent of all cases in terms of all the games being played overall.
  3. I didn’t get my team/character. Basically, it was all fighting and sports games, so the characters and teams you got were clearly of major importance. But again, if you’re good, you’re good.
  4. This isn’t my system. These days, at the highest level, this is a valid concern. For example, in the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the championship game is actually played in two halves split between Xbox and PlayStation. In the ’90s? Nah, fam.
  5. You play like a punk. I specifically recall writing this rule so I didn’t tell on myself. Because it would infuriate me when some dolt found a glitch to exploit and ran it into the ground. It annoyed me, but I had to respect it.

Anyways, rap twitter: more studio rules snaps, less pictures of drugs and guns. Stay ugly, y’all.

All Day Podcast: 6/7/17

The Most Interesting Man In the World, ‘The Bachelorette’ and our national anthem

5:06 PM

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So, when we mentioned some changes were coming to the podcast, the idea was to make things more than a personal, explorative look at things of my personal interest and go deeper on individual subjects. With that came the need for a new show intro. I hope you all enjoy what I put together.

To start things off, we talked to The Undefeated’s Tierra R. Wilkins about the latest episode of The Bachelorette. With one of the contestants effectively outed as a bigot, and it clearly being part of the intentional storylines, we’ve been a little let down by how this happened. Another black woman getting her chance in the spotlight ruined is not anything anyone wants. Wilkins also went into some detail about a personal experience with how dangerous it can be as a black woman dating certain people.

I also chatted with the man formerly known as The Most Interesting Man In The World from that Dos Equis ad campaign, Jonathan Goldsmith. He wasn’t an unknown actor when that role came along, but it was an awfully late career comeback for a guy who’d been working in Hollywood since the 1950s. His new book Stay Interesting comes out June 13, from Penguin Random House. He calls it a manifesto, but I’d call it a collection of extremely short stories that, if nothing else, paints an incredible picture of what America and show business used to be.

Lastly, on the heels of an appearance on Outside The Lines with Bob Ley in which I talked about the latest developments in the Colin Kaepernick saga, I decided to tackle the larger subject with that story: the national anthem. Some people consider the song absolutely sacrosanct, but I don’t. I explain why in the final segment.

Oh, and I got to wear a fun hat on TV.

Daily Dose: 6/7/17

The ROC is in the building

12:40 PMThese are some of the truest words I’ve ever read.

Washington is a mess right now. Committee hearings all over the place, the attorney general looking to resign, former intelligence chiefs saying Watergate “pales” in comparison to the current climate, it’s dizzying at best in terms of pace. Chaotic is a massive understatement when it comes to this country’s leadership at every level. Also, the president’s daughter is on the cover of Us Weekly, saying that she doesn’t always agree with her father. Meanwhile, most Americans polled think Trump fired FBI director James Comey to cover his own behind. Oh, and this.

I’ve long held the belief that the New York subway system is the best and worst in the world. And it’s for the same reasons. While you can get anywhere at anytime, you’re also liable to see or be subjected to anything at any time, with no warning. On Tuesday, a video went viral showing a group of passengers who were stranded in a train for 45 minutes with no light and no air conditioning. Fam, I have no idea what I would have done in that scenario. Check out what Desus & Mero had to say about this rather gross debacle.

YouTube is basically the only content platform that seems to matter these days. No matter how hard these others try, it basically controls everything from a popularity standpoint. And because it’s where the stars are these days, it’s also where the people who watch the stars are. So, if you were worried about not knowing who the former were, you certainly are clueless about the latter. Because they’re famous now, too, btw. I find this very cool on pretty much every level.

Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson just signed with Roc Nation. I feel like that sentence in itself explains the news, but if you don’t know, that’s the sports marketing agency that Jay Z started some years back. They’ve had some big names over the years, but this is the first NFL head coach they’ve landed as a client. It’s not super surprising, but certainly a milestone for an endeavor that many people saw as foolhardy at launch. Now, with Kevin Durant, Dez Bryant and Robinson Cano on their roster, they’re certainly in the big time, no doubt.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Everything about the Kalief Browder story makes me sick to my stomach. Be it the nonsense that landed him in jail in the first place, the unreasonable and inhumane corrections system that kept him in jail for so long, or the fact that he killed himself and the cycle never broke for him. It was two years ago Tuesday that it happened. R.I.P.

Snack Time: If you didn’t know, there’s a black woman running for governor in Georgia. Her name is Stacey Abrams. If she wins, she’d be the first black woman to hold that position in the U.S.

Dessert: Tuesday was a TV day. I wore a hat for the occasion.