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

Daily Dose: 10/11/16

David Ortiz’s career comes to a soft close

12:26 PMHope everyone had a good Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Personally, I talked to Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch about The Undefeated and the general state of affairs in sports media these days. Check it out here or here.

Today’s the big day. President Barack Obama will be at North Carolina A&T University today for a television special set to air Tuesday on ESPN at 10 p.m. EST. It’ll be the second time that the president has joined The Undefeated in a town hall context, and Tuesday night he’ll discuss the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and the role of historically black college and universities in today’s society from Greensboro. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the state, the effects of Hurricane Matthew still have full towns underwater. ABC News reports.

Of course, Donald Trump is still trying to punch his way out of a corner. Ever since that video of him announcing his proclivity for sexual assault went public, the Republican presidential nominee has been scrambling to spin those comments as “locker room talk,” as if that somehow makes it OK. On Monday night in Pennsylvania, he turned the focus of his message back on to the Clinton family. It should be noted that Bill Clinton and Donald are the same age. And after Sunday’s debate, The Donald is basically riding solo in his party, ABC News’ Rick Klein reports.

This clown nonsense must come to an end. Good, hardworking clowns are getting a bad name and losing business right when they need it most. Look, whether or not people actually do have fears of clowns or just what, the type of people who want to capitalize on said fears are sick. Dozens of states have reported sightings, which, again, is just such a strange thing to say. Clowns aren’t an endangered species. That said, this latest footage of a clown hitching a ride on the back of a city bus in Detroit is very odd.

It was an awkward night in Boston. The final game of David Ortiz’s career ended in rather tame fashion, with the Boston Red Sox bowing out meekly to the Cleveland Indians in a sweep of the American League Division Series. The crazy thing is, Ortiz had one of the best seasons of his career, but that team couldn’t find a way to crack the shell of a team that was only two games above .500 against teams outside of its division. Anyway, ESPN’s Scott Lauber was at Fenway Park to describe the somber scene.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Things are officially at worst-case scenario phase for Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owners. Not only are your phones blowing up and keeping you off planes, the company has officially announced that it is not only halting production, but you should probably just turn your phone off forever.

Snack Time: Thanksgiving at the Knowles house is going to be a fun one. Both Beyoncé and Solange have hit No. 1 on the charts with their albums this year, which is just plain tremendous on every level. Good for them.

Dessert: There’s a new Jordan 3 colorway dropping this week. And it’s nothing short of superclean.

Daily Dose: 10/7/16

Tiger Woods thinks he has a comeback in him

4:30 AMI went to South By South Lawn on Monday. Today’s Friday. Here’s how it went.

Florida is effectively under water. Hurricane Matthew touched down last night, causing all sorts of damage all the way up the coast to North Carolina. Nearly a million people have lost power and that’s just in this country. In Haiti, things are much worse. Hundreds of people are dead on the island nation, which can’t ever seem to catch a break when it comes to natural disasters. Maybe that should tell you something about the scientific realities of climate change, but that’s a discussion for another time. ABC News reports on the latest.

You probably think you’re a pretty smart person, right? You read articles on the internet. You mix in a book every once in a while, and when it comes to rudimentary math, you’ve got it together. The thing is, though, with so many different flows of information coming our way, we feel that receiving more information means that by definition we are more informed. Which, in an argument of semantics, gets messy, but whatever. A new study shows however, that Americans thinking they’re so smart is actually more of a problem. FiveThirtyEight’s What’s The Point pod discusses.

These creepy clown stories are bizarre on multiple levels. No. 1, you have to wonder why anyone is actually afraid of clowns in a literal sense. But secondly, what kind of person decides that clown terrorism as a copycat crime is a good life choice? Lastly, for people who literally are clowns, who do not specialize in scaring people, these stories are a problem, because no one wants to hire them anymore. And Halloween is busy season for them. VICE’s Sean Neumann breaks down this issue.

I refuse to believe that Tiger Woods can resurrect his career. Look, the man made golf interesting to me for longer than a decade, which is saying a lot. His body broke down however, and his life fell apart, too. After that initial 2009 Thanksgiving Day incident, I thought it was obvious that he would never win another major. Many people thought he had a comeback in him, but that never really panned out, and watching him struggle was really tough. Now, he says he can do it again, and has committed to tournament next week, ESPN’s Bob Harig reports.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Alicia Keys has a lot of nerve. She just released a song called Blended Family with A$AP Rocky that honors non-nuclear situations. Mind you, at one point, the way she acquired her blend was by breaking up Swizz Beatz’s marriage and then having a baby with him. But, celebrate away!

Snack Time: Watching Wiz Khalifa smoke weed with regular people, as in people whom we don’t know will always make me laugh. Here, he’s doing it with Conan O’Brien and playing video games.

Dessert: Do you need a value add for Solange’s new album? Here you go.

Daily Dose: 10/6/16

Hurricane Matthew has the East Coast prepping for doomsday

2:00 PMWe’ve got another episode of Locker Room Lawyer in the books for you. On a related note, this should be an interesting week in NFL penalty calls, too. Check out the latest video, here.

If you had travel plans this weekend on the East Coast, they’re probably already in shambles. Hurricane Matthew has already claimed lives in the Caribbean (1o in Haiti, to be specific) and as winds pick up along the Atlantic seaboard, officials are warning people to evacuate coastal areas. In times like this, the rush to get out can create almost as much havoc as the actual storm itself. Crowded grocery stores, long lines for gas and awful traffic only add to the stress of trying to outrun a hurricane. ABC News has the latest.

Fetty Wap might have had a great 2016, but he also had a fair share of legal issues. He was involved late last year in an altercation with his girlfriend after allegedly threatening to shoot her. Then, he was charged with driving on a suspended license, which is the lamest thing ever when you’re an artist that supposedly has a team to help you handle things like this. Anyway, in a pretty wack publicity stunt, Fetty brought hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay off a couple hundred bucks in fines. ABC News has the details.

Very rarely do I rock suits. Earlier in life, I used to have a strict weddings/funerals policy, as in that’s the only time I ever wore them. Such strict personal codes have since been relaxed, but I’m not sure I’ve gotten anything tailored in my life on that front. So, the concept of a customized suit is beyond foreign to me. In fact, for some people, that’s the only way to go. That process has gone next level recently, though. It’s not just about detailed fittings. If you want, you can get your naked body scanned. That’s what FiveThirtyEight’s Chadwick Matlin did.

Derrick Rose’s rape trial is underway. If you’re a fan of the Chicago native and New York Knicks point guard, the details of this are going to be difficult for you to accept. If you read or heard anything that his accuser has had to say over the past few months, never mind Rose himself, you know that whatever happened in that apartment is going to be a matter of her word vs. his, which is unfortunate. The jury is now set. Six women and two men will decide if Rose is a rapist.

Free Food

Coffee Break: I do not follow California state politics that closely, but I’ll tell you this: It appears that Loretta Sanchez is very lit. During a Senate debate Wednesday, after her time was up following her closing statement, she dabbed on her opponent, albeit awkwardly.

Snack Time: We’ve got casting updates from the new Han Solo spinoff that’s supposed to be in development. Shooting doesn’t even begin until next year, but nonetheless, it’s fun to speculate.

Dessert: Set your DVRs, kiddos. Ayesha Curry’s new show officially debuts Oct. 22 on the Food Network.

Blackness, depression and masculinity

Kid Cudi faces his demons in a brutally honest Facebook post

1:00 PMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca3hhFfFH-k

“I am happy, that’s just the saddest lie.”

That’s the closing lyric on the last verse of Kid Cudi’s Soundtrack 2 My Life, a not-so-deep cut on his debut studio album Man on the Moon: The End of Day, released in 2009. Coming off the fame of Day ‘n’ Nite, an introspective jam that caught fire, Soundtrack 2 My Life was a far more explicit look at the inner workings of a man whose mind has been dealing with mental health issues for most of his life.

So, when the rapper née Scott Mescudi took to Facebook to write an impassioned note to fans about his battles with depression and suicidal thoughts, which sparked the hashtag #YouGoodMan, I was not surprised. Partially because the last few weeks, he’d gone on a couple destructive rants and was seemingly losing grip. But mainly it was because of those aforementioned lyrics. I know, because they spoke to me then, and they still do.

As someone who’s battled social anxiety disorder, depression and the not infrequent suicidal tendency, the thought of shutting everything down and admitting to the world that you don’t know how to make yourself happy is an incredibly daunting task. As black boys, we are raised to believe that only our inner fortitude is what will carry us through difficult periods, just like it did our forefathers when the system was intentionally rigged to break our spirit.

When you become what the world believes of you as to be a man, your entire psychological and physical preoccupation becomes about proving your worth to your peers. In short, there’s no time to be worrying about mental health unless you legit can’t function in society anymore. The thought of sharing your feelings with someone you’re paying to listen to you becomes embarrassing and frustrating. People tell you to “get help,” and it doesn’t work because you don’t want to feel “crazy.” You ruin relationships with people based on your own ability to believe that they recognize your self-worth. You dive into your job, hoping it serves as a distraction. You lash out at people, friends and family because you’re too afraid to face your own reality.

At times, it becomes difficult to understand why it’s worth even trying anymore.

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States, established by Congress in 1990. Cudi, by speaking out on his own life, is advancing the cause of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which pushed for recognition of the week, and according to its website is “dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.”

For Cudi, it was the death of his father. For me, I never got over my parents divorce, as a child. For the millions of other black folks walking around out there with their own issues, it could be any number of things. It’s hard to admit that you’re damaged, broken or sick.

“I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me. If I didn’t come here, I would’ve done something to myself,” Cudi wrote. “I simply am a damaged human, swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life. There’s a ragin’ violent storm inside of my heart at all times. Idk what peace feels like. Idk how to relax.”

If you can’t relate to that feeling, I guarantee you know someone who does.

President Obama’s South by South Lawn

gives us a glimpse into what his post-White House goals will entail

10:00 AMBy the time President Barack Obama hit the stage at the first annual South by South Lawn (SXSL) Festival, the bulk of its mission had been accomplished. Yes, there was still the conversation set to take place with the president, atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe and Leo DiCaprio, star of Before The Flood, a documentary that explores the effects of climate change. But at that point, the crowd was huddled on SXSL-branded giveaway blankets after making friends nearly all day.

This was not a celebrity pass-thru event, like the reception the week before for the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. There were no too-cool-for-school types milling around unwilling to engage with people they didn’t know. There was palpable blackness, but this wasn’t just an excuse to have black folks running around on the back lawn of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The fellowship felt real, intelligent and productive. A spectacle, it was not.

Don’t get it twisted, though. We were outchea. Lauryn Hill’s Lost Ones was blasting through the speakers when I walked in and the last song I can recall before The Lumineers took the stage was Nappy Roots’ Good Day. All sorts of tracks like D’Angelo’s Lady and John Legend’s Green Light were played, courtesy DJ Beverly Bond. There was a swag surf. Rap squats in front of the SXSL sign were a must. Common recording an NPR Tiny Desk Concert while he was there.

In the innovations portion, the installations were very popular. The Justice for Us exhibit used interactive slides to highlight the discrepancies in sentencing for drug offenses in the United States. Down the way, Black Girls Code had set up shop.

People lined up for a virtual reality experience that recreated what life is like inside of a solitary confinement cell. Titled “6×9,” it was the most attended of the day. A collaborative effort between The Guardian and The Mill, a VFX and digital design firm, it was one of the handful of installations that featured virtual reality headsets. For many, it was an intense experience to have such a direct interaction with social justice programming, right there on the White House lawn.

“Most of us have seen the news and we’ve heard the stories about solitary confinement, but none of us can say that we’ve had that experience. So, that’s what really drew me, was, we have an idea of how awful it is, but to be there and feel like you are present in that space, nothing compares to that,” said Traci Slater-Rigaud, who works on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “It’s amazing technology, of course. You’re there. Aesthetically is so well done and the stories that are piped in as you are looking at this room, it makes it very real.”

The panels were well-attended and insightful. When the food trucks re-upped in the afternoon, that’s when the most honest exchanges came. Individuals were forced to sit with people they didn’t know to break bread, which ultimately led to the question of, “What are you doing here?” With innovators, tastemakers and creators from all over the country, it led to some fascinating discussions.

As an aside, it was also a tremendous look at what can really be done with the White House grounds when you choose to activate it as an outdoor space. And as strange, yet comforting, as it felt to spend a day talking tech, art, innovation and social justice at the president’s house, you couldn’t help but feel like this was the future of Obama’s legacy. His ability to gather smart minds is no small accomplishment when you look at the prospects who may be inhabiting the place next year.

“SXSL was a big win for everyone involved,” said Hugh Forrest, director of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival. “The White House embraced the spirit of SXSW by bringing together innovators across disciplines in order to brainstorm new ideas and make new connections.”

It could have been gimmicky. It could have been overly wonky. It also could have just been a party. It was none of those and SXSL was ultimately inspiring in result. Sure, Obama will build a library somewhere. And of course, he’ll be on speaking circuits for the rest of his life, making plenty money. But Monday proved that how he chooses to spend his time and resources once he leaves office will be more than just the standard fare. You got the sense that many of the people around you might be the ones he spends it with, too.

Locker Room Lawyer

Locker Room Lawyer, Episode 9: NFL penalties

Is the league targeting certain players?

7:27 AMIn this week’s edition of Locker Room Lawyer, Clinton Yates and Domonique Foxworth take the case of the NFL players who have recently been penalized for excessive celebrations to The Undefeated courtroom.

While speaking to media Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin expressed the need for more clarity on the league’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has already been penalized twice this season — once during Week 1 after celebrating a touchdown by twerking, and again during Week 4 after celebrating another score with pelvic thrusts. It’s worth noting that Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders also twerked after a touchdown in Week 2, but wasn’t penalized.

So, is the league unfairly targeting star players?

Domonique, a former NFL cornerback and our Locker Room Lawyer, has elected to defend the players who received these unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, while Clinton takes the side of the league, calling for the elimination of all celebration dances, no matter what the play.

What do you think these guys have to say about all of the penalties?

Check out our video, and if you have any professional athlete in mind (past or present) who needs the Locker Room Lawyer’s representation, feel free to email us at allday@theundefeated.com with episode ideas. Also, check out our weekly All Day Podcast.