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

Daily Dose: 5/2/17

Adam Jones says he was taunted by fans using the N-word at Fenway Park

12:31 PMIf you didn’t listen to Bronzeville, the podcast, you should. But if you’ve already knocked it out, check out this bonus interview with Tamron Hall, Laurence Fishburne and Larenz Tate. It’s a fun convo about a great show.

Hey, guess what? Police officers change accounts all the time to make themselves look better. You know what doesn’t happen a lot? The authorities actually admitting to it. Of course, in the case of Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old in suburban Dallas, that won’t bring his life back. In one of the scarier cases of brutality we’ve seen in a while, a high school kid was shot in the head by cops while a passenger in a car at a party. Turns out the kids were driving away from them, not barreling toward them with a vehicle, as initially stated.

Want to hear something terrifying? Last month at President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort, he was dropping bombs on Syria while hosting Chinese president Xi Jinping. Even beyond that, the people who were there are telling stories about the night as if the situation was supposed to be funny. Such is the case with Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, who, while speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, made a rather offhanded comment, calling the airstrikes “after-dinner entertainment.”

If you work in the news business, there are quite a few things that can get you fired. No.1 is making up stories. Nobody wants that, it’s unethical and it ruins the public trust. Yet, without getting too far down the list of fireable offenses for journos, let’s talk about the most basic one: Don’t use the N-word if you’re not black. Particularly if you’re in a public forum. But Atlanta reporter and CNN veteran Valerie Hoff decided that she was exempt from said guideline and slid into someone’s direct messages on Twitter for a story, only to end up resigning.

Hey, Boston, let’s talk. You know what doesn’t help the city’s reputation as a place where black people feel uncomfortable? Yelling racial slurs at opposing players from the crowd of a Major League Baseball game. You know what else doesn’t help: immediate defensive claims of “that’s not what we’re about,” as if a) that matters and b) it changes anything. On Monday night, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said he encountered racist taunts from the Fenway Park crowd. Puts a little more context around this GIF.

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Coffee Break: Eminem doesn’t play around when it comes to using his brand. So if you’re planning on inserting any of his music into your little advertising campaign, you’d better be prepared to fight him in court. You’d also better be prepared to have a group full of people listen to “Lose Yourself” in a courtroom. On camera. In silence.

Snack Time: Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel is nothing if not honest. If you haven’t seen it, watch his heartfelt story about the birth of his son and how that related to this country’s health care system.

Dessert: There are apparently plenty of black folks who DON’T want Confederate monuments removed. Oookay.

Daily Dose: 4/28/17

LaVar Ball overplays his hand

11:42 AMWe all know how much President Donald Trump loves Twitter. It’s basically his main mode of expression, which is a tad concerning for the man leading the free world, but it is what it is at this point. The funny thing is that if you go back and read his history, there’s basically a tweet outlining a stance that is completely contradictory to what he’s doing now that he’s in office. It’s genuinely quite remarkable. That said, we’re nearing the 100-day mark, so let’s take a look back at that time in his social media feed.

The franchise of Dear White People holds an important space in the cultural landscape. The film, released in 2014, was an eye-opening look at what black college life can be like at predominantly white colleges, which is basically all of them that aren’t historically black universities. The film clearly made waves in the mainstream, mainly because of the title, which automatically put a lot of people off. They’re back with a new series for Netflix, which is a fantastic evolution for this story. We need this show.

If you’re wondering, Michelle Obama will not be running for office. It’s been a strange pipe dream for quite a few of her fans who seem to think, understandably, that she would make an excellent public official. But one would think family time would be a priority after eight years in the White House. Getting involved in an election is a time commitment that takes over your life — never mind doing the actual job. Can’t imagine she’s looking to uproot all that anytime soon. But she was more definitive than Chelsea Clinton is about it, recently.

LaVar Ball is finally dealing with the big boys. For all of the entertainment he’s provided from a media and meme standpoint, his antics are not looked upon well by major corporations. Which, ultimately, was everyone’s concern to begin with: that he might actually be hurting his children’s ability to earn money at this point. Well, that’s exactly what’s happened. Nike, Under Armour and Adidas have all said that they don’t want to sign Lonzo Ball, who could potentially be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Mega wow.

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Coffee Break: The 25th anniversary of the L.A. riots is this week, which is kind of wild to think about. It feels like far longer ago. But from a media standpoint, that moment in history was made all the more intense by the fact that we had so much footage of everything. It was early in the 24-hour-news lifetime, and video really shaped a lot.

Snack Time: We use Slack at our office. Most people do. It’s a fun little chat system that, when utilized well, really can improve productivity. Why a dating service needs to be integrated with it, we have no idea.

Dessert: New Gorillaz. Get on it.

Daily Dose: 4/27/17

Gift Ngoepe breaks new ground in MLB

12:45 PMAll right, kiddos, the NFL draft is Thursday night, and if you’re looking for something to do in the hours leading up to it, The Morning Roast crew has you covered from 4-7 p.m. EST, filling in for Bomani Jones. For Friday tho? I have a surprise.

If you say you’re going to do something and you don’t, there’s an easy out. It’s called apologizing, and if you’re an earnest person, it’s really not impossible to do. Whether you mean it is a different discussion, but for the purposes of other people’s feelings, saying, “I’m sorry” can be a valuable resource for maintaining relationships. But that’s not how President Donald Trump rolls, alas. So when he said he was going to blow up NAFTA, well, Mexico and Canada were like, nah. Now, he just says his plan is delayed. Easier option: My bad.

Remember that situation with SheaMoisture from earlier this week? Controversies like that crop up because people don’t have a clear understanding of just how weaponized black hair is. So when a company that has been largely supported by black folks suddenly seems to turn on its base, people feel betrayed. Why? Because of things like what happened in Texas this week, where a kid was nearly suspended from school for having two freaking lines in his hair. You can’t fix fly, pleighboi.

Rick Ross is one of my favorite rappers of all time. Not because I’m superfond of his lyricism, though I do enjoy that, but because as a dude, he just strikes me as the kind of person whom I would want to be around, for various reasons. Now he’s on his health kick, and he’s letting the world know that seizures are not the move, if you can avoid them. He’s also got a new album out, but he made an appearance on Desus & Mero, and it might be the best interview they’ve ever done.

You all know how much I love baseball. You also know how much I enjoy the game being exposed to various new cultures so more people can play and enjoy the sport as I do. That said, Wednesday night in Pittsburgh was an incredible moment. For a quick backdrop, the Pirates earlier this week pitched Dovydas Neverauskas, the first Lithuanian-born player in the bigs. Then, on Wednesday night, Gift Ngoepe came into the game to play second base — and got a base hit in his first at-bat. He’s the first African player in the MLB, so, yeah, cue all the tears.

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Coffee Break: Wednesday was a brutal day to be an ESPN employee. Many colleagues and friends lost their positions because of layoffs, and at the end of the day, nobody wants to see that. So salute to everyone who helped make this company a better place.

Snack Time: Today is Take Your Child To Work Day. We see all your fun pictures and goofy updates, but look, there is only one of these that matters. It is this one. You know this.

Dessert: I’m just going to go ahead and blindly be happy about this photo.

Daily Dose: 4/26/17

Barack Obama is taking money from Wall Street

12:49 PMThe Houston Rockets did something crazy last night, but it worked out. They sold beer for a dollar before the game last night, and thankfully they didn’t end up with a Ten Cent Beer Night situation from the ’70s in Cleveland.

In the latest edition of ‘Should we be worried about this?’ we have two cases. Number one is the situation in South Korea. The military is effectively girding its loins for what could be a dangerous situation should North Korea decide to make a move on that front. Today’s the day that elected officials gather at the White House to be briefed on the circumstance. Secondarily, President Donald Trump has decided that he’s going all the way to the wall over the matter of sanctuary cities, claiming he’ll be taking them to court if they don’t change their ways.

Barack Obama has done plenty for this nation. Aside from being commander in chief for eight years, he served the country as an elected official for years before that. Point being, his record as a stand-up person is solid. But now that he’s out of the Oval Office, he’s free to do as he pleases, taking speaking fees and the like. But taking $400K from Wall Street is not a good look. It’s worth noting that, back in the day, he criticized said fat cats for their greed, so taking their money now seems disingenuous.

People love playing with their faces on the internet. It’s basically the reason why Snapchat got popular and, in general, is basically never going to get old. Manipulating one’s image is as old as humankind itself. So when the latest version of said filter, a thing called FaceApp, hit the market, it was obviously popular. I’m still creeped out about people posting photos of what they’ll look like when they’re old, as that’s just not a smart thing to do, IMO. Shockingly, it turns out the app was racist as hell.

It seems like a whole lot of people are looking to play pro basketball. Ever since they relaxed the rules to allow college players to participate in combine drills and NBA evaluations if they don’t sign with an agent, far more players have been declaring just to make sure that there isn’t a chance they might skyrocket up a draft board at some point. What that’s also done is let players be evaluated by other non-NBA folks, which is still playing ball for money. This year, 182 players declared for the NBA draft. Wow.

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Coffee Break: You know how people say that hip-hop has more references to drugs than any other genre of music? Welp, turns out that’s a huge lie. According to a new study, that crown goes to country music, but I can tell that it’s flawed because it’s counting Wu-Tang Clan and Method Man mentions of “meth” as drug references.

Snack Time: Why anyone would want to own a pair of jeans that looked like they were extremely dirty, legit muddy, when they had in fact done no work is beyond me. But Nordstrom is selling them for $400, if you’re into that.

Dessert: When it comes to crossover, do not EVER come for Allen Iverson. Ever.