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

Bill Cosby

His trial will likely dwarf O.J. Simpson’s, a once unimaginable concept

12:31 PM“If a 10-hour movie could be made about O.J. Simpson, a 20-hour movie could be done for Bill Cosby.”

That’s what my boss said Tuesday, referring to news that William Henry Cosby Jr. has been ordered to stand trial in an indecent assault case brought against him in his home state of Pennsylvania. Although dozens of women over the years have come forward with similar allegations, it’s Andrea Constand — who worked at Cosby’s alma mater Temple University, where he once served on the board of trustees — that will get her day in court.

When we think about the magnitude of this trial, it is impossible to predict. Compared with the Simpson murder trial, there are certainly similarities. But for the most part, they’re better defined as parallels taken to the 10th power. Football star Simpson’s popularity, although tremendous, was not even in the same stratosphere as Cosby’s. Yet the comedian and television icon is only 10 years older than the former football star. It seems like longer, mainly because Cosby played a fatherly figure for so long as The Cosby Show‘s Cliff Huxtable, and because he’s been in the public eye for everyone, not just sports fans, since the mid-1960s.

The Simpson case took over the country in 1994. Nearly every single person involved either was, or became, famous as a result. The coverage redefined the concept of not only the 24-hour news cycle, but laid the groundwork for what we understand the draw of reality television to be. It was the renaissance of “famous for being famous,” originally coined by Zsa Zsa Gabor, with a macabre twist.

In an April 2016 story titled “5 Reasons Why We’ll Never See Anything Like the O.J. Simpson Verdict Again,” Vanity Fair‘s Joanna Robinson analyzed how we all watched that incredible decision come down from a Los Angeles County courthouse. Yet, although the trial transfixed the country from a news standpoint, that was one moment.

“Adults abandoned their work and students left their classrooms as 150 million viewers — 57% of the country — gathered around TV screens,” Robinson wrote. “By comparison, only 37.8 million tuned in for Barack Obama’s historic inauguration in 2009 (also midday on a Tuesday) and 114.4 million watched the highest-rated sporting event in U.S. history: the 2015 Super Bowl. But if the verdict were to be announced today, most American workers and students wouldn’t gather together around a TV or a huge screen in Times Square. Most would be hunched over personal devices checking Twitter or Facebook or watching some kind of streaming video for the latest update.”

Now, imagine that for every single day of the Cosby trial.

With Simpson, there was an actual win/lose result we wanted to know. It was important for America to understand whether reasonable doubt even applied to rich black people. Cosby is richer than anything Simpson ever got close to. Simpson worked for NBC for a long time. When accusations against Cosby first resurfaced, conspiracy theorists said it was because he was looking to buy NBC. It’s a different world, if you will.

There are closer parallels when it comes to the sympathy arguments for both, the often “sounds like the LAPD is racist,” updated for the 21st century. Both were centered on the notion of not believing women and trusting a justice system that is systemically harmfully patriarchal by design.

“Even after more than 50 women have told remarkably similar stories of rape and assault, even after Cosby’s lawful arrest, plenty of people are still clamoring for the rest of us to ‘leave Bill Cosby alone,’” Christina Cauterucci wrote for Slate in December.

“They’ve said his career and reputation are already ruined and, at age 78, he’s too old to do any more damage; that vocal Cosby detractors are getting some kind of ‘sick pleasure’ from harping on his misdeeds. That the liberal media has an undue vendetta against a conservative apologist who preached about black immorality.”

Simpson was a man who many believe displayed the oft-ignored pattern of a domestic abuser. At that time, we weren’t ready to look at how domestic violence played a part in this case beyond race. We just didn’t have the bandwidth culturally for all those things to matter the same way.

In 2016, maybe we still don’t. But we’re certainly closer. While Cosby’s crime may not rise to murder, the sheer scope and breadth of his actions and admissions makes this trial, unfortunately, about far more than just Constand. It’s about the fundamental concept of consent.

Perhaps even more bizarre to think about is how this may play out going forward. Simpson is up for parole next year, for a Las Vegas robbery in 2007. If he’s successful, it’s entirely possible that he may be getting out of prison just as Cosby is headed in.

Freddie Gray case

Justice system produces familiar results

3:59 PMThe saddest part of the whole situation is that Freddie Gray’s death was entirely avoidable, had he not been wrongly arrested. Instead, he was, and one “rough ride” later, he died. The officer who initially arrested Gray walked free Monday, a soberingly unsurprising result for the second of six officers who will be tried for his death.

Edward Nero was acquitted of all charges, 13 months after Gray died from a spinal cord injury he sustained in a police vehicle. His death sent Baltimore into a frenzy, with pockets of violence cropping up in the city’s most underserved but highly policed neighborhoods.

The situation was so tense that Major League Baseball moved a scheduled night game to the morning, then didn’t let fans in to watch, for fear of some type of spillover effect of violence. Bizarre doesn’t begin to describe the scene. I remember, because I was inside the ballpark.

On a larger level, we’ve seen this cycle of police violence, then no real accountability, so many times before that the collective conscious of people who consider themselves woke isn’t remotely surprised.

One can debate the specifics of the case, and the specific burdens of proof versus charges levied, until the cows come home, but the apparent reality has set in that the system is not broken. This is the system working. Some people, however, have to be on the victim end in order for the system’s full capabilities to be understood.

When Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn Mosby stood on those steps and promised justice would be served, it was a transcendant moment, even though many legal experts at the time said it was a bad idea to make such a public proclamation. The case was going to be difficult no matter what, but it felt like a win in the name of common decency.

Derrick Coleman, former Syracuse hoops standout and No. 1 overall pick of the 1990 NBA draft, responded on Twitter to Monday’s news of Nero’s acquittal.

Last year, Qadry Ismail, who played for the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV-winning team and is still a broadcaster with the team wrote this on Facebook:

“The way in which this tragic event has spun out of control is indeed sad. A man lost his life and however it may have been, there needs to be accountability to the highest level of the Baltimore city government. No spin no politics but justice. However, the city as a whole is not a place of evil and malcontent. I have LOVED this greater Baltimore area as a player and now as a resident. I have enjoyed speaking to so many people and their love of the culture of the Baltimore area. I refuse to believe and accept some ignorant narrow minded people who have nothing better to do but loot and break into stores and cause disorder and lawlessness to spoil my view of what Baltimore and the surrounding counties have meant to me. I have met many a police officer as well, and can say the ones I have met are decent family people who do there jobs with integrity. I pray for peace for them and their families; for restoration of order; for those who broke the law to be brought to justice, and for healing for the City of Baltimore.”

 

Contrarily, you might recall that one Chicago sportscaster recently was fired over a joke he told about the situation.

“Sox in their Freddie Gray road uniforms in Baltimore tonight,” he tweeted on the one-year anniversary of the ghost game.

A man who broadcasts news for a living made a joke about a young man who lost his life for no reason and lost his job. The people who are responsible, but apparently not culpable, are less likely to lose theirs.

Rihanna stole the show at Prince’s tribute

Everything else about it got dragged

12:01 PMSunday night at the Billboard Music Awards on ABC, Madonna and Stevie Wonder performed a tribute to the late, great Prince. Let’s just say it wasn’t exactly well received.

https://twitter.com/DearLeader10/status/734579626744373250

Alrighty then. Now, whether or not you thought it was a little too soon for such a thing, or if the choice of performers was a tad off base, there was one undeniable fact: Rihanna is winning. Watch as she charms with this “I know the camera’s on me but I’m gonna act like I don’t and just dab on them folk” move, which should net her a separate award of its own. (Meanwhile, BET is upping its own ante.)

Slay.

Daily Dose: 5/23/16

Draymond Green involved in low blow

10:40 AMI bought a lot of vinyl in Asheville last weekend. Soon, I’ll tell you about each record for a new series. Should be fun.

As details of Prince’s death continue to trickle out, each becomes a tad more unfortunate. First, we learned that he was a day away from an intervention when he passed. Then, we learned that the doctor who prescribed him medicine was suddenly no longer working in said capacity. Also, we learned that he had no will, meaning his family will be left to fight for what he left behind. Now, perhaps the most macabre tidbit has been revealed. According to sources, Prince had been dead for hours when his body was found. ABC News’ Joi Marie McKenzie reports.

The Padres have some serious explaining to do. On Saturday’s Pride Night at Petco Park, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus was supposed to sing the national anthem before a game against the Dodgers when things went horribly wrong. Instead of hearing their voices, the crowd was played a recording of a woman singing The Star-Spangled Banner. And after that played, they didn’t even get a chance to sing themselves and were led off the field. Pretty much a colossal fail all around, nevermind how embarrassed each of those chorus members must have been. ABC News’ Brian McBride explains.

It was 2011 when I first heard The Weeknd. I had no idea what he looked like, no clue as to where he was from or really what he was about. Then Drake showed up on a song of his and you had to presume that maybe he was from Canada. A couple mixtapes later, he was a star to music heads. Then, fast forward a couple years and people are saying that at least vocally, he sounds like the next Michael Jackson. “I Can’t Feel My Face” was the song of the summer in 2015 and, now, he’s got the trophies to prove it. He dominated the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night.

Kicking someone in what we call the “man region” is a serious no-no. If it’s done intentionally, one is presumably looking to either start or end a fight and all offenses possible should be taken. On Sunday night, as the Oklahoma City Thunder were blowing the doors of the Golden State Warriors, Draymond Green found himself on the delivery end of one of said blows. Steven Adams was the recipient in this case. Green says it was an accident, but everyone else in the world seems to think otherwise. See for yourself.

Free Food

Coffee Break: As an architectural canvas, fire stations are such an interesting subject. The space and layouts they require are so unique, but can be executed in a ton of different manners. You can tell a lot about any locale based on what its firehouses look like. In Dallas, fire stations are on the cutting edge of all that’s hot in the design world.

Snack Time: Someone on a train didn’t want to sit next to former NBA baller Etan Thomas. So, he blew up their spot in the smartest way, as he tends to do. Check it out.

Dessert: Stories of self-absorbed rich people freaking out always has, and will, make me laugh incessantly.

Gary Rogers

is the most talented person on YouTube

2:00 PMGary Rogers hosts a show called SKATELINE. Sort of like Nightline but whatever, you get it. He’s genuinely one of the funniest people on the Internet. “Gary Responds” is like the after-show to his own show. He keeps it beyond real when it comes to commentary snd he curses a lot, which makes me laugh. You don’t have to care about skateboarding to like it, but it does help.

Los Angeles highways

are apparently littered with skaters trying the #FreewayChallenge

10:00 AMHighways are made for cars. In California, cars are a way of life. You know what aren’t meant for the roads? You guessed it. The #FreewayChallenge isn’t exactly new, but it’s obviously super dangerous and when ambitious riders are armed with a hashtag, anything can happen. The California Highway Patrol is supremely upset about this whole situation, according to KTLA.

Some of these “tricks” are rather insane. Look at this.

And this. Dudes taking pride in getting themselves on TV executing the challenge.

LA’s gonna LA.

Nas’ latest movie

is a tale of Cleveland skaters trying to make it

8:00 AMNasir Jones is best known for his rap game, but he’s been in the movie business for some time. The Queensbridge emcee co-wrote the classic Belly back in 1998 with Hype Williams, and over the years has become a preeminent hip-hop philanthropist and businessman beyond his contributions to the culture as an artist. His latest project is a skate flick, titled The Land.

Jones teamed up with Erykah Badu for the soundtrack and the film is about four youngsters from Cleveland, Ohio who are looking to make it as pro skaters. Directed by Steven Caple, Jr. and executive produced by Nas, it’s set to debut in theaters in July 2016. It aired at Sundance in January and Variety described the film as “promising.” You might recognize Moises Arias from his role as Rico years ago on Hannah Montana.

From the trailer, it appears that this will be an intriguing story outside of the skate factor. It also appears to be a decent visual love letter to Cleveland, which we’re here for beyond shots of the Quicken Loans Arena. Also, Machine Gun Kelly, who claims the city as one of his hometowns is in it, which means if nowhere else, this flick will do well in its hometown.

Oh and Yeezy’s on the soundtrack, too.

Christian McCaffrey

feels sting of stereotypes as white football player

7:42 PMWhen we think of racial stereotypes in sports, we think of black men not being intellectually capable of playing quarterback, wide receivers and basketball players being nothing but self-indulged “divas” and black athletes only marrying white women.

But what about the other side?

Stanford running back and Heisman Trophy runner-up Christian McCaffrey recently explained to Sports Illustrated how race affects the perception of him as a collegiate running back because he’s white.

“When you read about white athletes these days and white skill possession receivers specifically, one word you’ll always find is tough,” McCaffrey said. “You’ll rarely see explosive, athletic, stuff like that. … You get a little bit upset.”

McCaffrey has a point: Last season he broke the NCAA single-season, all-purpose yards record, led his team in receiving and rushing yards — the only FBS player to do so in the country — broke the Rose Bowl record for all-purpose yards and still lost the Heisman to Alabama running back Derrick Henry by almost 300 votes.

When you type his name into Twitter’s search, fellow white running back Danny Woodhead’s name pops up alongside McCaffrey’s.

But while it can be frustrating to be taken serious as a white rusher — and that arguably led to some of McCaffrey’s success last season — there’s a long history of racial stereotypes portraying black athletes as intellectually inferior to their white counterparts.

Academic research has found that the media connects the success of black athletes to their superior natural ability — “They were just born that way” — compared to white athletes who had to, ironically enough, work twice as hard to be successful at sports.

McCaffrey, the son of Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, has a fair point about the preconceived notions of him as a white running back, but is that really the worst thing in world?

Our History

Mob violence

changed the course of Memphis’ history

6:15 PM

It’s a shame #memphismassacre1866 wasn’t a trending topic on Friday.

What happened in Memphis this month 150 years ago is a history lesson deserving to be told, however uncomfortable the details. Rising tensions stemming from the end of the Civil War and Reconstruction helped produce three days of unspeakable violence between May 1-3. Less than a month earlier, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 passed, essentially guaranteeing citizenship and forbidding discrimination based on race or previous condition of slavery.

Black soldiers who supposedly killed a white police officer attempting to arrest a black soldier ignited the brutality. Gen. George Stoneman, Fort Pickering’s commander, ordered black soldiers to the barracks and confiscated their weapons, leaving a nearby black neighborhood and black refugee camp completely defenseless.

From there, carnage ensued. White mobs, which included law enforcement, attacked the camp and black neighborhoods. Men, women and children were hunted down and shot in South Memphis. Some houses were even set afire and armed officials guarded them to guarantee no one escaped. Every crime from larceny to murder to rape took place. Think of the movie The Purge, but only on black people.

John C. Creighton, the Memphis city recorder, defined the moment’s evil in one quote. “Boys, I want you to go ahead and kill every damned one of the n—– race and burn up the cradle.”

Blood tattooed the streets of Memphis. Families were physically and psychologically shattered. Approximately 50 people were killed and the psyche of the city’s black community was scarred permanently moving forward.

But most unsettling, yet unsurprising?

No arrests were made. Congress explained the chain of events in a detailed report, but not much happened to remedy what Memphis’ black residents were forced to endure. The government essentially washed its hands of the slaughter.

If you’re searching for an in-depth account of the horror inflicted on the city where Martin Luther King Jr. took his last breath, The Atlantic has an incredible breakdown well worth the read.

NBA

Figure it out, Kyle

the game and series aren’t over

4:20 PMKyle Lowry leaving the bench and walking to the locker room to “decompress” in Game 2 shouldn’t be the Toronto Raptors lone Eastern Conference finals highlight. But alas, here we are. The 9-year guard out of Villanova has been getting roasted all morning — as he should — but the issue is two-fold. Lowry is wrong, but so are the Raptors.

Toronto, perhaps inadvertently, threw Lowry under the bus. Sometimes a franchise has to save a player from himself. Say he had a hamstring tweak, bruised elbow, stomach ailment. Something, anything, that doesn’t scream “abandonment.” Chances are you’re going to get dump-trucked by the Cavs anyway, so make that the headline. The moment it was announced Lowry essentially walked off the court because he wanted to throw a pity party for himself is when this non-story became a story.

But ultimately, the mistake falls on Lowry. Who knows what’s going on in his life outside of basketball, if anything. But leaving your teammates in the middle of a game you absolutely had to win because you’re feeling bad about yourself isn’t the route to go. The All-Star point guard has played terribly in long stretches in the playoffs, shooting 35.7 percent from the field. Not a soul is going to feel bad for Lowry because he is cooking himself (get it, like Lawry’s Salt). And not to quote Jay Z, but “cry me a river, build a bridge and get over it.” For what it’s worth, too, the “decompress” session didn’t do much good. Lowry finished 4-for-14 from the field for an earth-shattering 10 points and five turnovers.

Reputations are everything in sports, and no one wants to be known as the guy who abandoned his team with a trip to the Finals on the line. However unlikely that is to happen.

You know you’re getting older when …

you realize Fresh Prince’s final episode was 20 years ago

The Undefeated

3:33 PM

Accept it. You’re old. Twenty years ago today, Hillary and Ashley were moving to New York. Carlton was moving east as well to start school at his father’s alma mater, Princeton. Uncle Phil, Aunt Viv and Nicky headed east to be closer to the rest of the family. Geoffrey, everyone’s favorite butler, gladly accepted his one-way ticket back to London.

But Will was still unsure what direction his life was headed in.

If anyone’s been living under a rock the past quarter century and doesn’t recognize the names, Friday marked the 20-year anniversary of the series finale of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Debates have raged for years about the two Aunt Vivs, the best episode or funniest character, but it’s impossible to deny the show’s legacy and staying power.

For what it’s worth, too, Will figured out life pretty quickly after everyone moved out. Less than two months later, he stumbled upon an acting gig in some movie called Independence Day. Sources say it performed marginally decent at the box office.

Michael Brown

your life changed the game

1:20 PMWhen the images of Michael Brown’s dead body lying in the summer Missouri heat began to circulate the Internet in August 2014, the world was introduced to the town of Ferguson.

Today would have been Brown’s 20th birthday had he not been shot and killed by Darren Wilson, an officer with the Ferguson Police Department.

https://twitter.com/blvckconscious/status/733673493179437057

In my mind, the images are still haunting. The fallout and unrest in that town and in many other American cities after Wilson was not charged by a grand jury made global headlines and laid bare the grim reality that in the United States of America, when in doubt, shoot first, ask questions later is not just an idiom, but actual state-sponsored policy.

Black Lives Matter. Hands Up, Don’t Shoot. Deray and Netta. For all of the movements, characters and symbolism that came out of that fateful summer, there is still the memory of a young man who had his life cut short.

[Will my 2-year-old nephew end up like Michael Brown?]

Brown’s death didn’t just impact the law enforcement, social justice and political spheres. The circumstances of the case were so poignant that many athletes were compelled to chime in with their thoughts.

America lost its innocence before it was ever technically created as a nation, but the word “Ferguson” will hold as much import on U.S. history as Selma or Watts. The days of standoffs between military-grade police forces and protestors brought rise to a new frontier of technology with Twitter and live-webcasting that democratized how we shared information with each other.

Brown’s life and celebrating his birthday is so important to people because he was exactly who so many of us are at that age: just kids trying to figure it out.

Earlier this month, the town of Ferguson hired its first permanent black police chief. But that won’t be enough to erase the memory of that summer in Missouri — for anyone, anytime soon.

Prince

Magic Johnson

told an incredible Prince story on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

12:05 PMPrince’s basketball prowess was well known among sports fans, particularly those in Hollywood who’d seen it in person. There’s of course, Charlie Murphy, who recounted the tale of his defeat with aplomb on Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show, which forever cemented the term “game, blouses” into our lexicons. That was also recently confirmed by Samuel L. Jackson on Instagram, not that anyone would have actually cared if it wasn’t.

But a lesser-known story, until Magic Johnson revealed as much last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, was one the three-time NBA MVP told Thursday about hooping with the Minnesota legend once. “He talked so much trash, he thought he had a real jump shot,” Magic said. “I had to remember it was Prince that I was playing against so I had to back off.” Of course, the way Murphy told it back in 2004, Prince’s jumper was nothing but wet. Murphy ain’t Magic.

The best part of the interview, though, is about a time when Prince called Magic to tell him he wanted to see a movie. Naturally, he showed up at 2 a.m. with his whole squad in pajamas. The tales of the late musician’s night-owl antics are legendary. Personally, I’d love to believe that whoever the person running the projection that night had the time of their lives.

While things are sorted out with Prince’s estate and we learn about the details of his final days, expect a lot more stories to come out that celebrities had in the recesses of their minds. Let’s hope that all those memories are as fun as this one.

Daily Dose: 5/20/16

Serena isn’t stopping any time soon

10:54 AMHey gang, I’m headed to Asheville, N.C., for the weekend to watch a friend get married, dig for sweet vinyl, tour breweries, watch minor baseball and basically just act like I’m Crash Davis, which is the move. Should be fun.

If you haven’t been paying attention to Boko Haram, there is something resembling good news on that front. Earlier this week, a schoolgirl who was captured by the group was rescued. If you don’t recall, this is where the #BringBackOurGirls movement started a couple years back that suddenly had everyone in America tweeting about West African politics. That aside, the schoolgirl who was one of hundreds kidnapped was found with child. On Thursday, she got to meet the president of her nation, a small consolation indeed. ABC News’ Morgan Winsor has the story.

For all the political banter over bathrooms in this nation, there’s a separate matter regarding the issue that is at the core of the debate: signage. Beyond the specificity of urinals versus toilets, what the door to the facility says is, in fact, hugely important. Hence the clash in philosophies. And because of that, the people who make those actual signs are about to experience a serious boom due to demand from people who support gender-neutral bathrooms. And they come in different shapes and sizes — the signs that is. ABC News’ Susanna Kim breaks it down.

People go to sporting events for various reasons. Some do it to hang out with their friends, others to drink beer and some even like to watch the competitions. In all seriousness though, the potential added incentive of some free food tends to get people really excited. Just check out any basketball game where free chicken is on the line for missed free throws in the fourth quarter. In Major League Baseball, pizza is a big deal and also a fascinating index for where each local economy is per team. FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Lindbergh and Rob Arthur analyze how market forces affect which ballpark is most likely to get you a discounted slice.

Serena Williams is my favorite American athlete of all time. She recently supplanted Deion Sanders on this list, so in my eyes she can do little wrong. She dominates her opponents then uses whatever language of the country she’s in to gracefully accept her trophies. Even when she doesn’t win she’s awesome. Anyways, with the French Open coming up, we’re rolling back around to the time of year when people start questioning whether or not she’s motivated to play tennis. Sidebar: Have you seen her apartment in Paris? It’s tremendous. ESPN’s Johnette Howard explains how Serena has been rejuvenated.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Mascots have extremely difficult jobs. You have to jump and run around in a sweltering hot suit and entertain people who can’t even tip you. Beyond that, you’re not even allowed to talk. But how do people get that job? Well, they go to school, just like for anything else. Here’s how it goes when a reporter tries to do the same.

Snack Time: I can’t think of anything more peak hipster than an Apple store in Brooklyn. Maybe an artisanal tea and crumpet station INSIDE an Apple Store in Brooklyn. Hey, guess what? An Apple store is coming to Brooklyn.

Dessert: Here’s a lovely collabo between Willow Smith and Michael Cera of all people. Happy weekend, kiddos!

Barry Bonds

is not here for teenagers rapping the N-word

5:37 PM

Barry Bonds has been a controversial figure throughout his baseball career, but now he’s taking a stand against the school his daughter attends in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The best hitter in MLB history wants the students in the video suspended. A group called Brentwood Students Against Racism (BSAR) has posted a petition on Change.org that had reached 600 signatures by Wednesday afternoon.

“A group of almost exclusively white students had a party on a boat and decided to sing the n-word multiple times,” the petition reads. “Brentwood has done nothing other than offer to “talk to them” If these kids weren’t in their socioeconomic position, of their racial heritage, or considered ‘assets’ to the community (based on social status and/or their parents wealth), consequences would be different. Brentwood claims to value diversity and acceptance, but their lack of action demonstrates otherwise. This is just another example of their white favoritism.”

The video depicting kids singing the ASAP Ferg song “Dump Dump.” Bonds’ ex-wife, Elizabeth Bonds, also checked in on the matter regarding where her daughter attends. “Is this what $40k worth of private education gets you? I am extremely embarrassed that my daughter is a current junior at this school and has been here since kindergarten,” she wrote. “I can’t even speak. I blame the parents of these children. SMH.”

The issue of white kids/people using the N-word in music is not a new dispute in the world of hip-hop, but certainly an evolving one. If you’ve been to a concert in the last 10 years, you’ve heard it happen. The line of demarcation is somewhat generational. Ja Rule, who hasn’t made a song of consequence in forever, thinks that we’re just going to have to live with a world in which this is the case. But Rich Homie Quan says he enjoys it when his white fans say the word, as it demonstrates a higher crossover appeal.

Travis Scott went so far as to basically force a fan to say it as part of a lyric, and then said it was an emotionally positive experience for him personally.

If you’re going to freak out every time you see a college kid in black face or hear a high-schooler drop an N-bomb, you’d probably never make it out of bed. But you do have to wonder if the vitriol around the most electric word in the English language for Americans will ever truly be removed from its usage. Perhaps more intriguingly is the notion that hip-hop would be the vehicle through which that happened. Are we that woke as a society yet?

In California, it doesn’t appear so. BSAR declined to comment on the story, citing concerns about potential backlash or legal action against them.

RGIII claps back

with tweets that say he still doesn’t care

5:13 PMBob just can’t help himself.

In the story “The Puzzling Plummet of RGIII,” The Undefeated’s Jason Reid analyzes why the once extremely promising star in the NFL found himself run out of town in Washington by a team that wasn’t particularly excellent either way. It painted a picture of a young man who was concerned about far too many things other than winning football games at best and completely self-absorbed at worst.

On Wednesday, Robert Griffin III posted a message on Twitter that could be considered a comeback of sorts to Reid’s opus. Berea, Ohio, is 358 miles from Ashburn, Va., but not so far that a critical piece might not still sting the man who won rookie of the year in 2012 as Dan Snyder’s prodigal son.

How? Easy. The Internet. It’s 2016. As for this line — “How does a man hit a target he does not have?” — that’s an interesting question coming from a guy who, after demanding to become more of a pocket passer, had trouble hitting his downfield… actually, nevermind.

Is the pressure on Griffin extreme? Sure. This is the bed he made and it went extremely awry at one of the most toxic franchises in the history of the league. But the longer he chooses to keep trying to portray a larger-than-life social-media presence, his persona as a diva is not going to go away. Especially not with his former coach Mike Shanahan jumping at every single chance to throw dirt on him. It’s like an episode of Celebrity Deathmatch with these two.

Ooh, this we like. Sort of an artsy, Instagram filter feel here with the Polaroid setup? Nice. But it’s awkward because there’s a grammatical error and the capitalization on said word sort of makes it seem like he’s referring to himself as a king, which is also just a tad grandiose for a quarterback who might not even be starting come Week 1.

It was nice to see him actually running around, doing drills and playing football. As a fan of his former team, I’d gotten so used to just seeing him standing on the sideline in pads. When Griffin completes his first touchdown pass in Cleveland, it’ll probably be a familiar feeling.

Then he’ll remember that he’s in Cleveland.

Ezra Edelman

to discuss O.J.: Made in America 30 for 30 film

2:47 PMOn Thursday night in New York City, writer and director of the ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 O.J.: Made In America will discuss the film with New York Magazine’s Rembert Browne at the Museum of the Moving Image. The five-part film that delves into the history of not just the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman and the subsequent trial of O.J. Simpson, it also shows the racial and economic climate of Los Angeles and the United States that led up to the incident.

The film goes into tremendous detail about Simpson’s past, his career at the University of Southern California from a social standpoint and the world in which his celebrity rose in such a unique manner. The first episode airs Saturday, June 11 at 9 p.m. EST on ABC. The following episodes will air on ESPN on Tuesday, June 14, then on June 15, 17 and 18.

Last weekend on ESPN Radio’s The Undefeated special, The Undefeated style writer Jill Hudson, staff writer Justin Tinsley and I sat down with Edelman to discuss what it was like to make the definitive documentary about the fallen NFL star and what happened in his life after he was acquitted.

Have a listen to the full 20-minute conversation here.

Lil Yachty is living his best life

as a model for a new fashion line collaboration

12:59 PM

If you’re not familiar with Lil Yachty’s work, you will be soon. The 18-year-old Atlanta rapper is part of the newest generation of talent coming out of the city that’s changing what’s considered Internet success in the music industry. His song “1Night,” produced by Burberry Perry, is a classic tale chronicling the current psychology of “hookup culture.”

He’s moonlighted as a model for Kanye West and, now, he’s taking that career path even further. Yachty stars alongside an actual black puma in the new ad for a collaboration between Puma and Pink+Dolphin, the fashion line that lives in brick-and-mortar form in Los Angeles’ popular Fairfax Drive fashion district, which is also home to brands like Supreme and Diamond Supply Clothing. The Suede Classic shoe collection featured drops on May 21, after originally being announced in February.

First off, this line looks extremely dope. The suede low-tops with the two-tone gum soles is a perfect summer look and those socks, showing off the Dolphin wave logo, are fire. Also, it’s pretty hard not to look good in a matte navy Ferrari. There also appears to be a sort of modified soccer jersey he’s sporting, and with Puma sponsoring five teams in this year’s UEFA European Championship, expect that to be a popular look.

Overall, it beats making tracks with Kylie Jenner.

Draymond Green

has a new Beats ad and it’s all Oakland

11:29 AMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akkbPSItrxM

How much Oakland can you pack into one 30-second commercial? A whole lot if you’re Beats By Dre. Their newest ad, featuring the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, is a mini-love letter to the Bay Area. Also starring in the ad is E-40 and his now decade-old song “Tell Me When To Go,” a banger that opened the country’s eyes to the hyphy scene.

Remember that? It was awesome. Ghost riding the whip, dreads flying, tons of fun. The commercial also mimics the visual vocabulary of the original video. We had almost forgotten how much a heat rock this track really was. Anyways, the best part of the ad comes in a barbershop scene in which both Gary Payton and Brian Shaw (Oaktown natives) are sitting in the chair.

No word yet on whether or not the headphones stay on your head when actually do the “go dumb” dance.

Daily Dose: 5/19/16

Cam Newton is riding custom clean

9:46 AMWednesday night’s season finale of Empire wasn’t exactly awful, but for the second season in a row, they ended with a dud. It feels like the writers can’t decide who they actually want the real star of the show to be.

The American incarceration system can really break your spirit. The war on drugs filled U.S. prisons with reckless abandon and, in some facilities, made life for not just the inmates but the guards extremely trying. There is violence, health risks and potential psychological trauma that comes with being the one responsible for making sure that people locked in cages don’t harm themselves or others. One place that’s particularly known for its brutality is Rikers Island in New York City. ABC News in a special report takes a look at what a day in the life of an officer there is like.

Dudes are often the worst. And when it comes to nearly anything in entertainment — gaming, movies, TV shows, sports — aimed at women, there’s always some guy around to explain why such a thing is problematic or boring, lest it affect their fragile male psyche. But because mainly television programs are judged based on the success of not just ratings, but online reviews too, the noxious words of the men watching them have very real effects on what gets done. FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey analyzes how men are sabotaging shows that are not aimed at them.

“Not perfect grammar, always perfect timing” was a lyric boasted by the Beastie Boys’ Mike D on the 1989 song “3-Minute Rule.” It’s a pretty decent life strategy, if you ask me. But when it comes to the world of media, for some, it’s not good enough. Not all players use the best language syntax when talking to reporters. Some don’t speak English as their first language. As a result, there’s sort of an unwritten rule about quoting players in which it’s understood that you don’t embarrass an athlete for how he talks. Recently, in Houston, the opposite happened. ESPN’s J.A. Adande delves into why this practice exists.

If nothing else, Cam Newton’s stunt game is next level. The best player in the NFL isn’t just a force on the field, but he’s a stylish guy whose career after he leaves the league will probably be stellar. Remember those $900 Versace pants he wore to travel to the Super Bowl last season? Those were mega fresh. Now, he’s got a new shiny toy, in the form of a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 Cutlass, a classic American muscle car. Only Cam’s is souped up to the max, including all sorts of actual bling in the paint and fabric of the interior. ESPN’s David Newton has the details of his ride.

Free Food

Coffee Break: What if I told you that Cypress Hill, Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine were joining forces to bring back political rap? Well, it might be happening. Reports say that B-Real, Chuck D and Rage sans Zach De La Rocha could be making this supergroup happen. The name? Prophets of Rage.

Snack Time: What do you get when a black family adopts a white baby? Well, for one, a hilarious premise for a movie and, secondly, one involving Lucien Jean-Baptiste, which is awesome. This should be funny.

Dessert: I love a good office prank and this battle taking over Canal Street is truly next level. More, please.