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

‘Ball In The Family’ launches Thursday on Facebook

The basketball family’s reality show will offer behind-the-scenes look at life

12:51 PMWe all knew this was coming, but it’s finally here. The Ball family has its own reality show. It was announced a while back that the show would be appearing on Facebook, and we’ve now got our first look at what the basketball clan is like behind the scenes, when it’s just them and the cameras.

I’ve explained to everyone my thoughts on the Balls taking the Kardashian route to entertainment fame: I’m completely here for it. I, in fact, want the two families to merge through love or business, on some level, creating what I’ve been calling “The Balldashians” since Day 1.

On a basic level, this show looks very fun. The Balls, if nothing else, know how to have a good time, and it shows. Beyond their ability to play basketball are their relationships with each other. It goes through summer league, where Lonzo balled out. It covers mom Tina Ball’s health situation and, in general, looks full-blown interesting.

You can say what you want about LaVar Ball trying to exploit his children for this that and a third, but I’m never going to hate on a dad who just wants to create every single opportunity for his family that he can while keeping them together and focused.

“We are thrilled to work with the Ball family to share their remarkable story at a pivotal moment in their lives,” Gil Goldschein, chairman and CEO of Bunim/Murray Productions, said in a press release. “For fans, it will be a front-row seat to how the family deals with the sky-high expectations heaped upon it. For Bunim/Murray, participating in the launch of Facebook’s new Watch platform and contributing to its video ecosystem is exciting because it fits with our long history of pioneering new formats and using our programs to help launch platforms.”

You might remember that company for another reality show franchise it launched that transformed small-screen entertainment: MTV’s The Real World. It also is behind quite a few actual Kardashian productions. The docuseries premieres Thursday on Facebook’s new Watch platform.

“We wanted to give our fans an unfiltered look into our lives and show them a side of us that isn’t typically seen,” LaVar Ball said.

Something tells me this is going to work.

The spectacle of black pain

CNN interview reveals the difficulty of covering natural disasters

4:23 PMFrom a media perspective, natural disasters are a difficult beast when it comes to ethical standards of coverage. While you want your audience to be informed, there is also the very difficult balance of doing your job, hurting any humanitarian efforts and, very plainly, exploiting your subjects.

Tuesday afternoon on CNN, viewers were treated to a live interaction that served as an incredible lesson in media ethics. To be clear, this criticism is not about the network itself necessarily. I’ve appeared on CNN multiple times in my career, and I haven’t been monitoring various outlets for the purposes of fair criticism. I just turned this on and saw what was leading up to and was instantly uncomfortable.

From what I recall, the question was basically about how she saved her children. But honestly, that didn’t really matter. She was going to say whatever she wanted to say. And good for her. A temporary shelter is not the place to start interviewing people like they are coaches coming off the field before halftime of a game. Sunday on NPR, I heard a teenage girl talking about the state of her family in a flooded house in which everyone was hanging out in the kitchen because that was the only room with a light.

Point is, as a business, we are all trafficking in this. The interview was just a particularly egregious example of how a shortsighted attempt at shedding light on something can in fact be harmful. It’s an EXTREMELY tricky balance for anyone who’s ever covered anything in real time that involves live broadcasting.

It’s hard to believe that they would have put a nonblack person in this situation. Over the past five years, images of black suffering have become en vogue, from movies about slavery winning Oscars to the constant images of our young men getting shot and killed looping on cable news networks across the nation. Is there value to exposing that to people, to understand what happened? Of course, that’s what this business is about. But there are diminishing returns, and for black folks in particular, it contributes to collective generational post-traumatic stress disorder, which is real.

And if you don’t believe me on that, you can click here, here, here or here.

Natural disaster coverage has no handbook. Of course, airing many of these stories is the connection it takes to make some people feel the need to give. But that doesn’t mean that the so-called greater good is always a fruitful endeavor. There is common sense, the drive to be first, the desire to help and everything in between. How that’s handled sticks with more than just media companies; it’s been known to ruin presidential reputations as well. Just ask Kanye West.

Daily Dose: 8/29/17

Chicago officer convicted of unreasonable force

1:18 PMIt’s official, I’m playing fantasy football this season. Not with my friends, since they kicked me out of the league, but with my office, since, yanno, I signed up. My squad name is “DONT @ ME PLEIGHBOI,” so take heed. Can’t wait.

A police officer is going to jail for unreasonable force. In Chicago, no less. I, for one, am shocked. In most places in the United States, because of the way our justice system is structured, never mind institutionalized racism — both of which overlap — law enforcement officials are almost never convicted of such acts. Rarely are they even charged, for that matter. But this case was so egregious because the offending officer tried to say that he was hoping to save one teen’s life by shooting at him in a car full of others. Yeah, nah. That makes no sense.

Maybe Tuesday will be another big ratings win for President Donald Trump. After he made that awful quip Monday, while Texas was being pummeled by Tropical Storm Harvey, regarding why he decided to pardon Joe Arpaio, Trump’s headed to Texas on Tuesday. Lucky for him, he’s got another crisis on hand to try to capitalize on. North Korea has apparently launched a missile, which flew over Japan. Trump says that as far as retaliation, all options are on the table. Whatever that means.

Ed Skrein has a perpetual invite to the cookout. He was supposed to be playing a role in a new Hellboy reboot that was initially written as a person of Asian descent. But when he learned that, instead of adding to Hollywood’s huge issue and basically core value of whitewashing everything, he pulled out. Like, legit said, “Nah, I’m good, this isn’t right and I don’t want to contribute to this problem.” So don’t tell me that it’s impossible to switch things up to make them right when you realize something is wrong in casting.

Tropical Storm Harvey is clearly creating problems across multiple fronts. Obviously, the flooding and destruction are devastating. As a result, the sports world is certainly being affected. Most pro sports teams in Texas have had to relocate games, and it’s affecting historically black colleges and universities as well. The Labor Day Classic between Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M has now been moved to Thanksgiving, which means the whole weekend of festivities surrounding that event has unfortunately been canceled as well.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Speaking of Houston, that’s where Joel Osteen works and worships from. You know that guy with the crazy televangelist following and huge church? Well, he apparently doesn’t want to open his doors to help folks. Of note: Most mosques in Houston have.

Snack Time: Remember when Kathy Griffin took those pictures that featured what some people thought was a beheaded Trump? Well, a new profile shows how off-the-charts reactions were to that. Pretty big wow, here.

Dessert: Frank Ocean dropped a couple of new tracks this week. The better one’s called “Provider.

The Morning Roast: 8/27/17

All good things must come to an end

11:33 AMSome of you might not know, but the show is coming to a close. Once football season starts, things change on the ESPN Radio calendar, so Sept. 3 is our last show. And this week was Domonique Foxworth’s last.

Hour 1

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Of course, the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight was the night before, and magically all three of the hosts actually watched the fight. Clinton Yates was thoroughly entertained and thought that McGregor did pretty well for himself, considering. Mina Kimes, however, thoroughly believes that this whole fight was nothing but a big setup for a rematch. Perhaps. Also, Yates displayed his tremendous knowledge of side gigs and how much they pay. For whatever reason, Mr. Union Foxworth seems to believe that negotiations don’t favor ring girls in boxing matches. Turns out, Yates was right on that.

Later, we got to talking about Julian Edelman and his injury and what that means for the New England Patriots from a personnel standpoint. Domonique and Mina got talking football, which means that it was time for the music to start back up, because we are officially gearing up for the gridiron.

The hour ended with talk about Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas potentially not being traded for one another because of injury issues with Thomas, the former Celtics point guard. Who would be better off if the trade were rescinded? It’s an interesting question.

Hour 2

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Bernardo Osuna, ESPN Deportes boxing reporter and host of Nacion ESPN on ESPN2, joined us to talk Mayweather-McGregor. He found the fight to be rather entertaining but also rather predictable, considering McGregor’s previous experience from a stamina standpoint. We also got a fun update from Osuna about what his daughter texted him, and he explained why McGregor said, “I turned him into a Mexican.” Spoiler alert: Osuna thought it was funny.

Then, after reviewing Teddy Atlas and Stephen A. Smith’s argument about how the fight is analogous to turning a gourmet chef into a short-order cook, things went off the rails. Yates, a former short-order cook himself, took offense to that notion. Also, Kimes is not a fan of burgers outside of fast-food joints. The segment ended with Foxworth ready to show the world that he’s got the best dance moves on the show.

To close the hour, we discussed what the football is going to be like in a post-Charlottesville world. You might recall that many of the Cleveland Browns took a knee during the first preseason game, which sparked a wave of reactions from people. Seth DeValve became the first white player to do this in the league, and his wife provided a very necessary perspective.

Hour 3

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In reviewing the fight, Foxworth told a story about going to see a teammate fight in Vegas, which quickly transitioned into a talk about how defensive backs would be the best boxers in the NFL. Of course, Kimes thought the best boxer in the league would be a Seattle Seahawk. But most importantly, we did our best job of looking back on the show, which was Foxworth’s last. Also, Yates couldn’t decide whether he wants to get the NFL Ticket and Foxworth is looking to destroy his house by playing virtual reality football in his basement.

Following, we had a long talk about whether the NFL should eliminate the preseason altogether, which we all felt was maybe too far. Foxworth says more practices between teams and fewer actual games would help. He also broke down to extreme detail exactly why Julian Edelman would not have been injured on that specific play if it had happened at practice versus in a game.

Of course, we all had a blast in What Did We Learn, but it was sad because it was our last show together as three. Sad bear.


Daily Dose: 8/28/17

Texas tries to battle Hurricane Harvey

1:36 PMHey, gang, I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: The Morning Roast is coming to an end. Football season is upon us, and programming is changing, alas. Good news: There’s one more show left. Check out this week.

All prayers go to Texas. In a storm the likes of which no one alive has ever seen before, Hurricane Harvey has basically destroyed large parts of the state with both rain and wind and the subsequent flooding. And it’s not getting any better anytime soon. They say that recovering from this will take years, and don’t forget: Quite a few people who survived Hurricane Katrina back in the day had permanently relocated to Houston. This is a nightmare all over again for them. The police chief’s advice? Hunker down, they’re trying. This is such a sad situation, overall.

Might be time to get that Amazon Prime account, if you’d been holding out. The official sale of Whole Foods to the megaretailer became official on Monday, and word is that prices will be dropping at the high-end grocer rather soon as a result. This means that Jeff Bezos owns one of the country’s most prominent media companies, as well as a massive online sales operation, besides a monster food chain. Dude is doing a lot. How this will affect any of those businesses overall, who knows? Here are the details.

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t watch the MTV Video Music Awards. Typically, it’s my favorite of all the award shows. This year, I just didn’t have it in me as a result of the fight on Saturday draining all my desire to watch long, live programming for the rest of the weekend. But Katy Perry was the host, and from what my Twitter feed says, there were a decent number of solid performances. It’ll likely air 23 more times in the next five days, but if you just want to catch up on what you missed, you can do that too.

By many accounts, Vontaze Burfict is a dirty player. He’s had that reputation for a while in Cincinnati, and now the league is suspending him for five games as a result of a hit he put on a Chiefs player this preseason. Look, I don’t know what his deal is or why he can’t seem to stay out of trouble regarding his on-the-field play, but this dude needs to get it together. The NFL allows a lot of reasonable leeway when it comes to the basic concept of knocking the crap out of people, and the fact that he can’t seem to get it right is troubling. He plans to appeal the decision.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Russell Wilson seems like a nice guy. He and Ciara make a lovely couple, and generally he is a pretty decently liked person. But whatever he had in mind for his outfit at the Mayweather-McGregor fight is beyond me. I mean, look at this outfit. Dude looks like Carlton from that episode of Fresh Prince when they go to Compton, California.

Snack Time: In the 21st season of the WNBA, not a single player has a sneaker line of her own. Seems like that’s a problem that needs to change.

Dessert: Shoutout to Katherine Johnson — you know, the NASA genius — who just celebrated her 99th birthday.

Daily Dose: 8/25/17

How the Browns’ national anthem protest came together

1:21 PMWhat’s up, gang, hope your week’s gone well. I’ll be hosting #TheRightTime with Bomani Jones on Friday afternoon from 4-7 p.m. EST on ESPN Radio. There will be quite a lot to discuss heading into this weekend.

When multiple Browns players took a knee in Cleveland during the national anthem last week, it wasn’t impromptu. As it turns out, this was a decision that went through multiple channels and happened with the blessing of the franchise. You might recall that head coach Hue Jackson made some comments on the matter a while back that some viewed as unproductive. Well, he felt he was misinterpreted. Check out this in-depth look at how it all came together for the Browns. Also, let’s not forget what one Ohio Supreme Court justice said on it.

We’ve all been on family vacations. Sometimes there are multiple parties involved, as in, different constituencies who don’t necessarily live in the same household. So interests are not exactly congruent, and even though you all love each other, so to speak, that doesn’t mean you’re always going to get along. In many ways, it can feel like a competition. And if you were to hold a news conference after one in which people had to answer questions like athletes, you’d probably get a hilarious scene.

If you’ve never been to Africa, you don’t know what it’s like. Ancient and modern depictions of the continent are typically rooted in racist, colonialist and otherwise just stupid, misguided generalizations. As a result, people still believe that Africa is full of jungles and darkness. FYI, that’s not the case. So when a Harvard professor decided she wanted to re-create the Heart of Darkness boat cruise and write about it, we knew we were in for a trip. But there are ways to report on the continent, which ain’t one country. Take some time and learn something.

Saturday’s finally the night. Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will get into the ring Saturday night in Las Vegas, and hopefully McGregor will deliver a vicious roundhouse to the face of Mayweather and set off a vicious brawl that will be far more entertaining than the described bill. Alas, most people want an actual fight, but we all know that’ll likely be super boring. That said, multiple $1M bets on Mayweather have come into Vegas, which have caused the odds to move a little bit. Awesome.

Free Food

Coffee Break: The 1992 riots in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict were a seminal moment in U.S. history. Not because riots were anything new, but these were all over TV in the news cycle in a new way. Nonetheless, there were two sides. A new movie explores the Korean store owners’ side of the situation.

Snack Time: If you think the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony’s relationship is somehow getting better, you’d be wrong. He’s been left out of their marketing plans for next season.

Dessert: Happy weekend, y’all. This is how you educate the youth.