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

Daily Dose: 11/21/16

Things take a turn in North Dakota

1:45 PMI went to an NFL game Sunday night as a fan. I didn’t see any fights and the team I was rooting for won, but there were these guys. And, I had no problems sitting during the superfluous pregame music.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Dakota Access Pipeline, Sunday night was a huge wakeup call. In a scene that looked like the days of the Jim Crow South resurfacing on Native American land in North Dakota, police turned water hoses on people who are protesting to keep their own water safe. Aside from that stinging irony, it was a vicious attack on demonstrators who were only fighting with their bodies. ABC News reports, but this was no clash between sides, to be fair.

It was an interesting weekend for the president-elect and vice president-elect. The latter decided to go see a performance of Hamilton on Broadway and found himself being directly addressed from the stage. The situation drastically upset Donald Trump (he demanded an apology), but Mike Pence, not so much, in fact. Then, on Saturday Night Live, there was further lampooning of the president-elect that once again set him off. ABC News details how Trump doesn’t particularly know how comedy works.

Thanksgiving is coming up, which means it’s time to start thinking about food. If you’re lucky enough to be one of those people whose family always has a bountiful feast on Turkey Day, then you know what your favorite dishes are in addition to ones that you’d rather just not deal with at all. The question is, collectively: What is the best possible combination? FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey is going to tackle the question, but needs your help.

So, there’s an NFL game happening in Mexico on Monday night. The Texans take on the Raiders in Mexico City, which has hosted a league tilt before, albeit in the preseason. Considering what’s happening in this country regarding politics and all the rhetoric about building walls and the like, this is a heck of an opportunity for Mexicans to let Americans know how they feel about it. That aside, football is plainly just pretty ripe to grow down there, according to ESPN’s Steve Wulf.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Not all parts of the movement are well-thought-out or smartly organized. Some go even further and are outright ahistorically disrespectful to a lot of people. Such is the case with these “I’m not my grandparents” shirts that are apparently circulating for sale.

Snack Time: If you needed another visual trick to distract you from the state of the world right now, this pair of flip-flops is once again dividing the internet, not dissimilar to The Dress.

Dessert: This makes us even more sad about Sharon Jones.

What Are Those?! Podcast: 11/17/16

The latest in sneaker news, the rise of Jordan Brand and a chat with Stance’s Tzvi Twersky

12:56 PMWelcome to The Undefeated’s What Are Those?! Podcast, where we’ll give you a weekly taste of what’s poppin’ in both the world of kicks and sports fashion.

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This week, I’m joined by The Undefeated’s editor for audience development Marcus Matthews — a real O.G. sneakerhead — and we kick things off by breaking down the three following headlines that caught our eye in recent sneaker news.

  1. Neo-Nazi site calls New Balance “official shoes of white people
  2. Student buys Air Jordans for classmate being bullied over his shoes
  3. Nike’s self-lacing HyperAdapt sneaker will cost you $720

We also sit down with Undefeated style writer Jill Hudson to talk about her latest story on Michael Jordan’s Jordan Brand empire, which Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is certainly leading into the future. And last but not least, I catch up with Tzvi Twersky, Stance’s category director for baseball and basketball, to chop it up about the company’s production of socks, Allen Iverson’s legacy in fashion culture and Tzvi’s extensive sneaker collection.

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If you missed our pilot episode, definitely give it a listen. And if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at allday@theundefeated.com.

Daily Dose: 11/18/16

Kanye West has officially lost the plot

12:25 PMThe homey Aaron Dodson’s new podcast is officially up and moving, and he’s got another edition out. If you don’t know about What Are Those?!, you need to get on it. Listen here.

I have no idea what’s going on with Kanye West. Sure, it’s been a tough year. He’s been publicly beefing with Jay Z, his wife was assaulted in Paris and now his concerts turned therapy sessions have gone wild. On Thursday at a concert in California, he told an entire crowd of people that had he voted, his vote would have gone to Donald Trump. He then resurfaced his claims of running in 2020, which at this point is exactly what this country deserves. This dude is doing the absolute most. ABC News reports.

Let’s review what’s going on with the Trump White House. He’s decided to tap Michael Flynn as the national security adviser. He’s also decided that Mike Pompeo is his guy for the CIA. To top things off, he’s offered the job of attorney general to Jeff Sessions, who was the first Republican senator to endorse Trump, so apparently that move paid off. Meanwhile, Trump is also trying to stick his son-in-law in office, which might cause a problem, because nepotism is a thing, and people don’t want that.

In this country, some people view drug addiction as a psychological choice, rather than a physical problem. And for some people, who tend to believe that the criminal justice system is actually designed to reform and reshape lives, they think that sending someone to jail is a smart way to bring about change. But for parents, dealing with an addicted child is a nightmare. They take desperate measures to try to make a difference in ways that they haven’t before. One dad sent his heroin-addicted daughter to jail. VICE reports on how that story ends.

The Lamar Jackson show is over. It was fun while it lasted. Watching him roast defenses all over the East Coast was a tremendous ritual this season. All he did was score touchdowns, and we all loved it. But, that’s all over now. They got completely dumptrucked by Houston on Thursday night, and it wasn’t particularly close. They looked like a squad that was waiting to get exposed, and it happened. His Heisman Trophy hopes probably aren’t over, but if I’m being honest, I would have rather seen them play for the title, anyway. ESPN’s Sam Khan Jr. reports.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you’re wondering what’s going on in various coffee shops these days, I’ll tell you. Grown men are screaming at people because they didn’t get their lattes on time, and people are recording these interactions. I’ll let you fill in the blanks on why all this went down, but you can also just watch it here.

Snack Time: Donald Glover put another song out, and from the looks of it, that album is going to be superfire. Also, The Weeknd put out two snippets. We think the same will be the case with his album, but we don’t really know yet.

Dessert: Klay Thompson is an absolute goon, and we’re here for it.

Shirley Caesar has always been the truth

and this latest meme has put a spotlight on her glory

11:14 AMLast week, to most, Shirley Caesar was The First Lady of Gospel. The pastor/singer was a legend in the game, the type who sings at the White House. This week, she’s everyone’s grandmother at Thanksgiving.

If we’re being honest, we don’t feel bad about this meme at all. The song is just too good. Don’t let this distract you from the fact that the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead Caesar is a national treasure, but we can do both in this space. Everything about this bit going viral is hilarious. From the remix itself to the hashtag challenge, this ratchet hymn, if you will, is genuinely inspirational. I probably listened to it 20 times on first go. This dude went all out and wrote a vegan-themed verse to spit while he sat in his car.

Most primarily, that menu sounds incredible. As someone who enjoys a good walking around ham (for the uninitiated, that’s the side ham that’s not a part of the actual table when it’s blessed, but is just present for snacking while the food gets ready) I can definitely appreciate that kind of spread. While we’re on the topic, can we discuss the concept of the “early plate”? You better have a DAMN good reason to get an early plate on Thanksgiving if you’re not instantly leaving the function to go to a place where there is no food.

Second is the fact that she counts using her thumb in that elegant way that only old black ladies do. The look on her face is so serious. You can catch this work from the kitchen, too. Don’t sleep. For accuracy purposes, it’s worth noting that the original song is called Hold My Mule. Here’s the whole thing, if you need to go to church right quick. It’s fire, by the way.

Also, as a general aside regarding gospel, is the concept of a quality preacher who is also a quality singer. Many preachers believe themselves to be as gifted in one as they are the other. Alas, this is not always the case. Nothing worse than a nonsinging person behind the pulpit carrying on all Sunday morning. You know who you are.

For DJ Suede, the guy who made the remix, he never expected it to blow up like this. He’s been remixing music and videos for about five years, and figured it was time to make a holiday edition. A buddy of his passed along the clip and the rest is history. “I put together a unique combination of 808s and topped it off with organ cords to provide that church feeling,” he said Monday. “When it was completed, I felt like it was a hit, but never expected it to take off in the way that it has.”

Caesar is the definition of peak blackness. She was born in and lives in Durham, North Carolina. She went to two different historically black universities. She’s been singing since the ’50s. She’s a Delta. She ain’t some crazy granny just singing funny stuff in a church. Much respect is put on her name. But you best believe that once that turkey comes out the oven, this song is coming on.

Daily Dose: 11/17/16

Diamond Reynolds speaks out

11:00 AMDrake is like that kid at school who is otherwise cool, but then when he invites you over for a slumber party is just all sorts of reckless because he’s in his own house. This run-in with Kevin Durant was a classic “you play too much.”

Diamond Reynolds is not exactly a household name, but if you’ve been following the #BlackLivesMatter movement, you know who she is. Reynolds is the girlfriend of the late Philando Castile. You might recall that she’s the one who had the presence of mind to live-stream their encounter with police, while her 4-year-old daughter was in the backseat. Now that the officer who killed Castile has been charged with manslaughter, Reynolds is speaking out. ABC News reports on the latest.

Now that we’re all somewhat coming to terms with the concept of President Donald Trump, let’s take stock. One problem: That’s impossible to do. He’s still treating this entire situation like some mix of a game show and a family business. His kids and in-laws seem to be involved in everything and nobody knows who’s going to make up his cabinet. ABC News looks at five big questions from the first week of the president-elect’s time prepping for office. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton spoke in public for the first time since her loss.

When Dwight Howard signed with the Atlanta Hawks, it was awkward. He was much maligned in his own hometown, but now, his presence is paying dividends. The Hawks are 9-2 and ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. Sure, we’re only two weeks into the season, but if you had told me that one team would surge ahead of the Cavs this early in the season, I dang sure wouldn’t have thought it was going to them. FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring looks at how Howard has transformed that team.

While people like Phil Jackson are out here trying to throw shade, LeBron James is just giving back. The NBA superstar has pledged to give $2.5 million for a Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. That is no small amount of money, fam. It’s also completely in line with who James has shown us he is as a person. Charitable and impactful. Ali died this year at the age of 74, leaving a huge hole in the world of social justice and sports. ESPN has the details of the donation.

Free Food

Coffee Break: The Roland 808 drum machine is probably one of the most iconic instruments in all of music, and now, it’s getting its own documentary. The preview is a bit awkward because it heavily features Afrika Bambaataa, who is accused of sexual abuse. If you can put that aside, the film looks like it should be good.

Snack Time: Speaking of museums, it looks like the next Smithsonian museum will be one dedicated to the work and glory of women in this country. This is another better-late-than-never situation.

Dessert: If you’ve got 10 minutes on your hands, check out this short film about Tottenham.

Phil Jackson and his problematic use of the word posse

Call it whatever you want, but it was definitely inappropriate

4:00 PMposse

noun pos·se \ˈpä-sē\

: a group of people who were gathered together by a sheriff in the past to help search for a criminal

: a group of people who are together for a particular purpose

: a group of friends

That’s the definition of the word according to Merriam-Webster, which we defer to in this case. When New York Knicks executive Phil Jackson decided to pop off and make some oddball comments about LeBron James and what he and his friends do, many people found his comments to be offensive. Jackson, the legendary coach with 13 championship rings, in a wide-ranging conversation, decided to take aim at one of the most important basketball players ever, for reasons that we’ll still never understand.

More specifically, he referred to James’ business partners and crew as his posse, in a reference to how Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra ran the Miami Heat when he was there. To a random viewer, it was a bad choice of words, rooted in a level of apparent disdain that many would chalk up to casual racism. Another, more cynical view, is that this was supremely problematic and effectively mirrored a “stay in your place” remark.

James and Maverick Carter were unhappy with what Jackson said, but he shouldn’t have been surprised. Let’s not forget what The Zen Master said back when the NBA decided to change its dress code 10-plus years ago. He was firmly in the “pull up your pants” camp, and had no problem saying so.

What’s most intriguing about Jackson’s stance is how clear he made it that he is out of touch with not just the NBA, but America in general. But don’t forget, he’s a 71-year-old white man who makes his home in Montana. He married the daughter of the owner of the team that was paying him. That’s a world that only he could live in. So, his characterization of Team James is not only insensitive, it’s inaccurate.

James is quite literally the American dream. Jackson still sees he and his squad as just another group of black guys. And you wonder how the Lincoln bedroom gained its newest resident.

Let’s just put aside the fact that James is one of the best players in the league and brought a championship back to Cleveland. Let’s also put aside the fact that the lone controversy in his career is one that involved a television decision that happened at a Boys & Girls Club. No gambling habits, no disrespect toward guys he played against, none of that. All James has done is help put kids into college, highlighted his hometown’s small business owners, and, you know, landed a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike.


Jackson’s remarks were entirely inappropriate. But his status as a revered personality across the league has protected his stance as anything other than reckless. Jackson drew on a history in this nation of trying to delegitimize the honest efforts of black people to live and exist in a world not built for them. At the core of Jackson’s point is that James is out of line for thinking that he is more important to his team or the league than anyone else.

If you want to know how racism works, this is it. It’s not always about some Ku Klux Klan member in a robe burning a cross, or even a police officer deciding that a black life isn’t worth a white one. It’s about the microaggressions that come from people who benefit from the system deciding that other people aren’t worthy of the success that hard work begets them.

Whether you think Jackson is racist is immaterial. The fact that many believe the accusation is unfair is a clear indication of how little we understand the true nature of the problem.

Daily Dose: 11/16/16

Some NBA teams say no to Trump hotels

3:30 PMJill Hudson was out of town this week, so our gracious colleague Danielle Cadet filled in on the podcast and things went well. She’s an international superstar, so, you might want to tune in for that story. Listen here or download here.

So, Donald Trump has a big problem: the media. It’s one thing when you want them to come and you summon them. It’s another thing when they are hanging around you all the time, because, yanno, you’re the president-elect of the United States. He didn’t want the media on his plane when he went to meet the actual president, and now he’s ditching them to eat meals with his family. Who is this guy, thinking he deserves some right to privacy as the most visible elected official in the country? In all seriousness, though, ABC News reports on a steak dinner.

Here’s the thing about the word institution: By definition it’s supposed to be a thing, a concept, a reality that we can count on, trust and believe in and swear by. That also happens to be the large problem with them. Because once you’ve decided who’s supposed to benefit from said institutions, it becomes really hard to change the products and derivatives of said system. Think about what you call an “institution” and what that means to you. Then, think about who that affects negatively. FiveThirtyEight’s Clare Malone analyzes why we don’t trust them anymore these days.

Real talk: I watch Desus and Mero every night. I was a listener of their podcast and I watched their internet show, too. They came out of nowhere on the internet, and if you remember those days of Twitter, oh, was it glorious. Now, they’re big time, hosting their own television program on Viceland, and are doing it big. They’re somewhat reckless, very vulgar by some standards and extremely funny. But, their act, for lack of a better term, has come a long way. Check out this interview about how they found their comedic voices.

The Trump effect is going to be a bigger deal around America than even he realizes. For sports teams, this means that staying at his hotels is something they just might not do. We saw this already in Major League Baseball when Adrian Gonzalez decided not to stay in a Trump facility, eschewing what his team had done for years. Now, the NBA is getting in on the act, which leads to the other question of just how many teams are staying in Trump locales, anyway. ESPN’s Marc Stein and Zach Lowe report.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Speaking of Trump, there’s a new game out there taking over the nation. It’s called “Trump’s coming” and it’s heavy in these streets. Literally, here’s all it involves. Someone yells the catch phrase, then people of color start running for their lives. This is funny, because, well, it’s not.

Snack Time: Apparently Lin-Manuel Miranda was bullied in high school. That sucks. But, also, he was apparently a rather well-known rapper, Immortal Technique. This story is intriguing on multiple levels.

Dessert: The new Pharrell song is very fun. Play it while you wash the dishes.

Officer in Philando Castile shooting charged with second-degree manslaughter

Ramsey County, Minnesota, attorney calls death ‘not justified’

1:45 PM

Color us surprised. The officer who shot and killed Philando Castile in front of his girlfriend, who streamed the incident on Facebook Live, will be charged with second-degree manslaughter, according to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, it’s the first time an officer has been charged in a police-involved death since 2000.

If you don’t remember, Castile’s death was a larger wake-up call than most. As we grew desensitized to surveillance and dashcam videos of black people being gunned down with no repercussions from so-called authorities, we hadn’t seen one streamed. This particular case also happened in front of a child. We watched a man die on a camera, while his girlfriend told any and everything she could as his life was escaping him, and an officer was to blame.

There was something nakedly poetic about this particular case. What was the excuse going to be this time? There are a million reasons that officers get off scot-free in these situations, but with Castile, the circumstances were so plain that even the officer who shot him couldn’t help but react with regret at the time. He cursed multiple times at himself, asking Castile why he moved at all. Diamond Reynolds reminded the officer that he asked Castile to get his wallet. The video was a groundbreaking occurrence in the entire Black Lives Matter movement, and Reynolds was a pioneer.

Mind you, all of this was over a broken taillight.

Castile was a cafeteria supervisor at an elementary school. His death was tragic. Even in the explanation, Choi’s words are so measured, so precise and so specific that you wonder just what the straw was that led to the charges. This is typically the language we hear when grand juries or prosecutors don’t find reason to charge. This time, it just went the other way. If we’re being honest, the presence of the child was likely the tipping point. You just can’t fire a gun at someone with a 4-year-old in the backseat. Even if she’s ultimately the one who shows the most humanity in the scenario. Jeronimo Yanez is the officer’s name.

A charge is one thing. A conviction is another. Minnesota, as a place, is a third. Depending on your judgment, justice has yet to be reached. But accountability has been established on some level. Which, considering, is progress.

All Day Podcast: 11/15/16

Dave Chappelle’s ‘SNL’ appearance, mourning the loss of Gwen Ifill and debating the true meaning of the term ‘bust’ in sports

3:27 PMWith Jill Hudson out of town on assignment, Undefeated senior editor Danielle Cadet made her debut on this week’s podcast. Spoiler alert: Danielle had the best weekend out of all of us, hands down.

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Last week, Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States, and a few days afterward, legendary comedian Dave Chappelle hosted Saturday Night Live. Chappelle’s appearance on the show, especially his 11-minute opening monologue, was spectacular. The crew discusses why he was the perfect host following this year’s historic election.

On a sadder note, the journalism world recently lost the illustrious Gwen Ifill, who died Monday due to complications of cancer. Danielle reflects upon the dual impact Ifill had on her as both an African-American and female leader in the industry for so many years.

On the topic of sports, former Ohio State big man Greg Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, recently told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that he believes he’ll be “remembered as the biggest bust in NBA history.” But what does the term “bust,” especially in basketball, truly mean? We discuss.

Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at allday@theundefeated.com.

Daily Dose: 11/15/16

Are these protests ever going to stop?

1:41 PMThe homey Domonique Foxworth was on Highly Questionable again Monday, this time with Papi and Dan Le Batard himself. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, you can check it out here or download the podcast.

These protests against the president-elect do not appear to be letting up. Across the country, things have moved down to the student level primarily, with high school and college kids leaving class to express themselves about how they feel regarding Donald Trump. On Monday night in Columbus, Ohio, at Ohio State University, things got rowdy when a person giving a speech was tackled mid-talk. This is clearly an act of violence, and frankly, a bad harbinger for how things will be if this becomes normalized behavior. ABC News has the details.

It sounds ridiculous, but we’ve got a big problem with fake news. Because of the algorithms that run search engines and social network sites are so all-consuming that they control nearly everything we see in our feeds now, it’s not difficult to simply put something out there that is nonfactual or an outright lie, and have it be picked up and shared widely as an actual truth, which is obviously an issue. It’s a major concern for not only Facebook, but also Google, too. Might want to get this fixed.

When it comes to things like geology, I’m not great. How people managed to construct buildings from the mediocre if not completely useless tools that we were once beset with as humans is beyond me. When I watch History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, it’s the one thing that actually gives me pause. How is it possible that we have zero explanation for some things? Anyway, it leads to an interesting aspect of archaeology. How do we know what’s an actual tool, and what’s just another rock? FiveThirtyEight’s Maggie Koerth-Baker investigates.

In the next four years, is it likely to see a lot more athletes coming to visit the White House? Maybe not. But what about to discuss matters they find important with the lawmakers on Capitol Hill? Sure. On Tuesday, various players from the NFL will be in Washington, D.C., to talk about police brutality and other issues surrounding race. House Speaker Paul Ryan is supposed to be one of the people in the meetings, and it’s not just black football players making the trip either. ESPN reports.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Germany wins a lot when it comes to global soccer. But when it comes to World Cup qualifying, oftentimes they have to play lesser opponents, as part of their obligations to the continent. Well, San Marino is basically awful at the game, but the country is great at understanding why it plays. The Germans, on the other hand, do not.

Snack Time: A pioneer in the DJ game died Monday. If you don’t know who David Mancuso is, you should. Secondly, his passing is another major loss in what’s been a year full of them across so many cultures. He was 72.

Dessert: Here are some dope instrumentals for a lovely fall day.

These two ‘Black Beatles’ covers are glorious

We need more, please and thanks

9:29 AMWhen you’ve got the No. 1 song in the country, people want to be like you. That’s the position that Rae Sremmurd is in. According to Billboard, the hip-hop duo’s Black Beatles banger is at the top of the Hot 100 chart. We need not extol the virtues of the track, but let us guide you toward a couple of the more incredible covers we’ve seen in a while. First, behold the majesty.

I could listen to this all day. My man even hits the chorus and the ad-libs. He needs to release the full video. Secondly, there’s Nicki Minaj putting her twist on things to complete perfection. Nicki has a real skill at taking songs by guys and adapting them to a more female-centric theme, and she’s dang good at it. (Language: NSFW) Let’s hope this means Nicki’s next project is coming soon.


One thing is clear: Black Beatles is the song of the year.