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

Daily Dose: 8/22/16

Neymar leads Brazil to Olympic gold in stunning fashion

10:18 AMWelp, we’re all done with the Olympics, kiddos. But not before we got in one more episode of Locker Room Lawyer — Rio version, specifically about swimmer Ryan Lochte, who is a liar. Check it out here.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has gotten his week off to a blistering start. My man kicked down the door first thing Monday morning by lobbing insults at MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, meanwhile his campaign manager du jour was just telling folks Sunday that he doesn’t do personal insults. This is all after he legit told a crowd of people that black people have nothing to lose by voting for him. On a more serious note, though, it does appear that the polls between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are tightening, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver.

The further we get away from Prince’s death, the sadder the story becomes. Investigators are still looking into his death, but the details of his drug use are becoming very clear. And when a person with that much influence and money wants something, they get it. As for prescription drugs, it appears that Prince had a lot of them. An official told the Associated Press on Sunday that they found two dozen pills, counterfeit ones, no less, that contained fentanyl. AP‘s Amy Forliti reports.

Neymar is awesome. That just needs to be said. The 24-year-old Brazilian footballer put the nation on his back during the gold medal game against Germany and willed his team to its first men’s Olympic tournament win. He netted one during the first half on a beautiful free kick that opened the scoring. Then the match went to penalty kicks, the highest of drama. After a save, Neymar had the final kick to win the tournament. He did it. It was a genuinely great moment. VICE Sports‘ Aaron Gordon watched the game with three old Brazilian ladies.

Darryl Strawberry is scared for his friend Dwight Gooden. The two were subjects of the 30 for 30 film Doc & Darryl that chronicled how drugs derailed both of their careers in Major League Baseball. Now, Strawberry thinks that Gooden’s drug use has come back and the former phenom pitcher is in declining health because of his addictions. And not like, oh, this guy parties hard — Strawberry is concerned he may die any day. ESPN’s Adam Rubin details a story that hopefully has a better ending than many people involved think it will.

Free Food

Coffee Break: I have to say, I love Harambe memes. They are typically sophomoric, disingenuous and absurd, but I’d be lying if I told you they didn’t make me laugh. But now, the Cincinnati Zoo is asking people to chill out with the jokes. That will never happen by the way, but the request seems reasonable.

Snack Time: If you’ve ever wondered whether or not Wu-Tang Clan was a real part of the American collective conscious, all you have to do is ask NPR’s Morning Edition crew.

Dessert: What’s the coolest thing I saw all weekend? It was this.

There’s something strange in the neighborhood

Who you gonna call?

7:00 AM

CES is an artist whose worked I’ve loved since I was in high school. An old-school, wild-style graffiti guy for some time, he’s recently rotated his game on Instagram and other mediums. Now, he makes these wildly creative variations on his tag, many of which take on a form of marginally abstract but so functionally inventive that you can do nothing but just look and marvel.

In this particular variation, he takes on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, giving him the Ghostbusters treatment in a piece called “Speechless.” There are so many wonderful things about this sketch, which at even quasi-partial completion is super clean. You get a nice glimpse of his outline work as well, which you can see on the paper outside of the pink marker work.

The stray Sharpies and American flag calendar add a nice touch, too. Not unlike Trump’s health, this piece is astonishingly excellent.

We’re going to need a bigger boat

because MadC is chewing on stupid swimmers

7:00 AM

I don’t know where this is from, but if it’s by MadC, it’s likely dope. She’s my favorite artist in the game, but more importantly this is very on brand for the dog days of summer. Of course, there’s nothing cool about shark attacks, but this is excellent can control in depicting that blood spray.

The best part about this post, however, is a comment from philipsteerart. “More bad press for sharks, they really don’t deserve it,” he writes. This dude must hate Sharknado. Shout out to Bethany Hamilton-Dirks, by the way. She’s awesome.

Board on Saturday

Do NOT try this at home, kiddos

Seriously, just watching this makes us nervous

7:00 AMLook, skateboarders by definition are sort of extremists.

The concept of hurling yourself through the air on a few layers of wood and four wheels is a tad wild to begin with, but these dudes in Hong Kong are going super next level. The first five seconds of this video are enough to make you want to barf if you’re afraid of heights, and if you’ve got the stomach to get to the end, please don’t lose your lunch.

There are no tricks, no jumps, no nothing. Just a kid standing on his skateboard.

Board on Saturday

We’re going back to Cuba

This time with a surfboard

7:00 AMThe ingenuity of the Cuban people never ceases to amaze me. Once beset with trade restrictions that forced people to basically work with what was already in front of them for decades, they still create and do it well. It’s no different when it comes to surfing. You’ve got to understand that not only was it nearly impossible to find surf equipment for years, it was legit illegal (and still kind of is?) because the government is leery of people paddling to freedom.

With that as the backdrop, think about what surf culture is even like in Cuba. Sure, Havana has its fair share of passers-through now that relations have been eased in many ways, but for the most part, people are straight up building boards from the random stuff they can find wherever they are. Think about that. It’s one thing to keep a car running for, say, 50 years. It’s quite another to construct an object to surf on out of leftover appliance parts.

Anyway, here’s a great story called “Riding The Waves Of Change: Surfers Push To Transform Cuba” by Corey McLean, who was on the island nation for a couple of months, making a documentary called Havana Libre about the surf scene down there.

In Havana, it is much easier than it used to be for surfers to get their hands on modern boards from tourists, but outside the city it is still nearly impossible. To this day, a young carpenter named Yoan Pablo gathers sea trash and foam that washes up on the shores of his community — a small ex-military district sitting 45 minutes by bus outside Havana called Micro X — and cobbles together Franken-boards to get him and his friends in the water. Pablo says that he has to source his resin, a key ingredient in the creation of boards, from over six hours away.

Where there’s a will, there’s a wave.

Locker Room Lawyer

Locker Room Lawyer, Episode 6: Ryan Lochte

‘When the law gets there, you get missin’ as good as you can’

5:05 PMIn Friday’s edition of Locker Room Lawyer, Clinton Yates and Domonique Foxworth take the case of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte to The Undefeated courtroom.

Last Sunday, Lochte was involved in a late-night incident at a Rio de Janeiro gas station with fellow Olympic swimmers Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger. The swimmers deemed it to be a robbery while Brazilian police said they vandalized the gas station.

After the incident, Lochte returned to the United States, though the other three swimmers were forced to remain in Brazil to cooperate with local authorities.

Did Lochte violate bro code by leaving his teammates behind when the law came knocking?

According to Domonique, the Locker Room Lawyer, as long as Lochte didn’t snitch, he didn’t violate bro code.

It’s worth noting that on Friday, Lochte apologized for his behavior surrounding Sunday’s incident. Below is the Instagram post with his full apology:

Check out the 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.

Daily Dose: 8/19/16

Frank Ocean releases a visual album … or something

12:00 PMMy n—- Larry Wilmore did his final The Nightly Show on Thursday night, and Jon Stewart made an appearance. When Wilmore comes back, in whatever form it is, best believe it’s going to be one of the best things you’ve ever seen.

You know what’s embarrassing? When athletes from our country go abroad, do hugely stupid things, lie about it, then act like it never happened. You know what’s even more shameful, when we give people a pass for being wack as all get out, under the guise of “boys will be boys” (or insert whatever stupid piece of phraseology you want here) because we don’t want to face the fact that we coddle our athletes to the point of problems. Whatever, but there’s nothing cool about any of this. ABC News reports on the latest swimmers who made it back from Brazil.

Frank Ocean is no longer a friend of mine. His antics, lack of ability to deliver in a manner that works and the whole deal: I’m over it. A 45-minute visual album? Are you serious, fam? I understand, you gotta be next level or whatever, but this is not going to work for me. Nobody wants to watch you walk around a warehouse for nearly an hour. THE STREETS ARE OFFENDED BUT WE STILL LOVE YOU, FRANKLIN. Anyway, if you wanna know what’s going on with his video game, click here.

Let me tell you a story. When I was 12 years old, I went to Holland for the first time. I was visiting family friends outside of Amsterdam. They went to school, so for the first and only time in my life, I had to wear a uniform and, like, actually go to school with him for a couple of days. On the last day, there was a field trip to a swim meet. It was the strangest thing in the world, watching a high school swim meet at a British school in the Netherlands. Super fun, everyone was into it. Anyway, here’s VICE Sports asking Olympian Nathan Adrian nothing about swimming.

We need to talk about Bob Griffin (Robert Griffin III). I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with this dude over the past couple of years due to the nature of where I was born and where I worked. Now, he’s out here’s gooning hard. He divorced his wife, got a new girl. And he tattooed her name on his arm. Mind you, fam has a baby with ol’ girl, not to mention he was once soliciting wedding presents online from fans. All that aside, the Cleveland Browns played Thursday night, and he threw a pretty nice touchdown pass to Terrelle Pryor. Good for them both.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Next week, we’ll be in Chicago. The Undefeated will be holding a town hall to have a discussion about athletes, gun violence and responsibility. I’ll be there. His & Hers co-host Jemele Hill is hosting, which is more important. But, it is an important project, so if you care, be sure to tune in on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 9:30 p.m. EST.

Snack Time: Mass Appeal’s Rhythm Roulette is one of my favorite things in the world. They take producers, pick random records and have them make beats. It’s genuinely awesome. Here’s one of the best episodes of it I’ve ever seen.

Dessert: If I go to your house and your vinyl is arranged by cover color, I will fall in love. Instantly.

Did someone say rerun?

Because’s that’s what’s happening with the U.S. women’s 4×100-meter relay team

1:01 PMAn odd situation unfolded Thursday morning when the U.S. women’s 4×100-meter relay team dropped the baton in its semifinal heat, eliminating the team from competition in the final. Allyson Felix in particular had already been having a semi-awful week when she was beaten by a diving Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas in the 400-meter final to lose the gold medal.

Then on Thursday, after contacting a Brazilian runner, Felix had to pull a desperation move and tried to literally throw the baton to teammate English Gardner, which was unsuccessful. “I got bumped coming into the exchange zone and it completely threw me off balance,” Felix told NBC. “I tried to hold it together to get to English. Maybe if I had one more step I could’ve, but I was falling.”

They appealed and won, which means there will be a rerun. According to CNN, “The Brazilian team has now been disqualified, and the U.S. team will return to the track for a rerun at 20:00 [7 p.m. EST] local time. Racing alone, they’ll have to beat China’s time of 42.70 to qualify for the Olympic final.”

Last year, half of this team (the two involved in the drop, no less) ran a 41.68 in the World Championships in Beijing. Speaking of which, China’s got to be sick right now. Running alone, with a grudge and a spot in the final on the line? These American girls aren’t going to mess this up, twice. Although, you never know. This stuff happens. Meanwhile, USA track fans are outchea looking like this.

Music

Andra Day’s ‘Song Exploder’ episode

is a tremendous look into one of the music biz’s best minds

10:45 AMAndra Day is unlike anyone else in the record industry right now and Hrishikesh Hirway is that dude. The former is an R&B singer/songwriter who sounds like she’s from both the past and the future. The latter is a composer/musician whose Song Exploder podcast provides some of the most in-depth and analytical music conversations that we have in the business.

From a strict vocal standpoint, she’s been described as sounding like something between Eartha Kitt and Blu Cantrell, as in a light-skinned woman who sings with a distinct accent? Sure. But her voice is better than Kitt’s and her range artistically is far wider than Cantrell’s. She’s rocked everything from radio stations to Austin City Limits to the White House.

In the latest Song Exploder episode Monday, the two sat down to chop it up about her song Forever Mine. It’s part doo-wop, part hip-hop.

“The one thing I wanted was the mix of the old and the new. So it was kind of like, cool, let’s do this,” Day said. “I told Rob [Kleiner] that I love the Flamingos and I love the song I Only Have Eyes For You. So that was really sort of the prototype for the song.”

Alongside Rob Kleiner, who co-wrote the song with Day and produced it, they break down exactly how they constructed the melody. Kleiner, who’s worked with artists such as Cee-Lo, Kylie Minogue and Sia, is really fun to listen to as far as how he describes his process and what kind of sound he likes. Also, listening to these two vibe is rather refreshing. Make sure you listen about how they made the hook. Hip-hop group Mobb Deep also gets a shoutout, if you’re familiar with the track.

Lastly, if you want to know how Hirway constructs his podcasts, not just how artists put together their songs, check this out. If you’re not familiar with this show as a whole, you need to get on it. It’s dope.

Daily Dose: 8/18/16

Three black women make history on the track in Rio

9:49 AMWe stepped back into the “courtroom” for another edition of Locker Room Lawyer this week to discuss the NFL and that Al-Jazeera report on alleged performance-enhancing drug use. Come for the discussion, stay for Judging Cousin Aaron.

Things just got very real for two U.S. swimmers in Rio de Janeiro. What seemed like an unfortunate story involving three Olympic athletes getting robbed while out partying has now morphed into a borderline full-scale international incident, with people getting pulled off planes and passports allegedly being held by authorities. Basically, the initial story that Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte told TV host Billy Bush was a tad embellished, if you will, and other accounts didn’t quite add up. As a result, fellow Olympic swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz had some explaining to do. ABC News reports.

Don’t ever let anyone say you can’t learn something by watching it on TV. That was my motto as a younger man. Now, that’s been amended to include YouTube as well, obviously. And I don’t just mean how to fix a drainpipe or tie a bowtie. I mean larger-scale stuff. Like, I don’t know, how to become an Olympic javelin thrower. Take the case of Julius Yego, a Kenyan who can’t exactly run very far. That doesn’t really work in that nation, so when he wanted to get better as a youth in track and field, he took to the internet. VICE Sports‘ David Cox explains.

Approval ratings are such a strange concept. Imagine how they’d work in a different social context. Like say, you have to provide weekly or monthly approval ratings for your parents, your teachers or your preachers. Let’s say they were posted for the world to see, as if to shame you into winning more points down the line. It doesn’t quite work that way for the White House, but the overall setup has always been a funny one to me. FiveThirtyEight’s David Nield looks at how President Barack Obama’s ratings have jumped compared to other presidents.

If any nation takes all three medal spots on the stand in an event, there should be one big triple-sized flag, instead of three regular ones. Wednesday night that would have meant that Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin would have listened to The Star-Spangled Banner looking at just one Old Glory, as they did something never done before: They swept the 100-meter hurdles. It was a joyous scene after they made history and if you know their three backstories, it was enough to make you shed a tear. ESPN’s Bonnie D. Ford can tell it to you.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Pizza box technology has been growing exponentially for the past 20 years, with things like board games on top, shape-shifting containers and the like. But this latest innovation, a box that doubles as a playable DJ setup via Bluetooth? That’s next-level dope for the kids’ next sleepover.

Snack Time: Even if you don’t particularly care about rapper Kanye West’ 21 pop-up shops blessing the globe Friday, make sure to check his website to see where they are. Because I guarantee there will be major traffic issues around each.

Dessert: Your sober reminder that for children in Syria, life is hectic.

Locker Room Lawyer

Locker Room Lawyer, Episode 5: NFL PED accusations

Should these four players comply with the league or stay quiet and risk suspension?

3:36 PMIn Wednesday’s edition of Locker Room Lawyer, Clinton Yates and Domonique Foxworth take the case of NFL players James Harrison, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Mike Neal to The Undefeated courtroom.

In December 2015, Al-Jazeera America released a report titled The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers, in which an Indiana pharmacist named Charlie Sly accused five NFL players — Harrison, Clay Matthews, Peppers, Neal and Peyton Manning — of using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). After the report was released, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) came to the defense of the players and Sly has since recanted his statements.

But now, as the 2016 NFL season approaches, the league has called for the four active accused players (Manning is now retired) to cooperate with an investigation into the Al Jazeera report. If they don’t, the players will face discipline from the league, including suspension.

Domonique, who played in the league for seven seasons and then served as the president of the NFLPA, elected to take the case of the four players under investigation, stating that they have no obligation to cooperate by speaking up on the matter.

Heading into Wednesday, the Locker Room Lawyer has not lost a case. Can he continue his dominating streak in a case right up his alley of expertise?

Check out the 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.

Carmelo Anthony is enjoying himself in Rio

while continuing his humanitarian tour

11:39 AM

While his team’s basketball play hasn’t been particularly artful, Carmelo Anthony hasn’t let that stop him from creating art in Rio de Janeiro. The man looking to lead the U.S. men’s basketball team to the Olympic title, and his third gold medal, took a tour of the favelas this week in Brazil and blessed the people quite a bit.

Decked out in all red, he played some ball with local kids. In two minutes of play, he managed two rebounds, two assists and got beat backside for a layup. Most shockingly, he put up no shots. The video then takes an interesting turn and cuts away to a Snapchat clip of a guy painting a mural of Anthony with the caption, “Blessing the favela with a mural of myself!!!” In the clip, Anthony says, “Only other person is Michael Jackson who been up here, man.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkxLZNaLAds

Well, for one, that just can’t be true. I have to believe that rapper Snoop Dogg and/or Pharrell both found a way to get murals painted for them when they were shooting the Beautiful music video back in the day. The favelas might not necessarily have been where they were on location, but I’ll bet that clout extended into the poverty-stricken zones. “The love is real in the favelas,” Anthony says in another Snapchat clip.

In all seriousness, this video is pretty impressive. But I still want to know how this mural came about. Did he roll up and just say, “I need a mural of myself, stat”? Or did an aspiring artist who recognized the New York Knicks guard ask him if he would like one dedicated to him? The streets back home in the U.S. need to know.

Either way, we love that Anthony is doing more than just sitting on the boat or running around the Olympic Village. He’s had a great summer of activism. He bailed out his team in a game it probably should have lost against Australia and now he’s genuinely reaching out to the people of the Summer Games’ host nation. For a tournament in which people have talked about and treated Brazilians like they’re diseased animals and dangerous criminals only worthy of scorn, Anthony is keeping up his streak of being a touching human.

Daily Dose: 8/17/16

Donald Trump tells a room full of white people about what black people should do

9:59 AMThis week on the podcast, we had to take things to a slightly more serious level. It was just one of those news cycles where the topics that mattered were ones that didn’t allow for too many jokes. Anyways, please do have a listen.

Donald Trump made his most ham-handed appeal to the black community yet, on Tuesday. Speaking in a basically all-white exurb of Milwaukee, the man who once publicly called for the death of the Central Park Five is suddenly trying to court black voters. The Republican presidential candidate even went so far as to connote that it is Democratic Party policies that have fostered the relationship between communities of color and the police. His campaign is going so well, by the way, that he just brought in a new manager, ABC News reports.

Remember what female gymnasts used to look like? Skinny little girls flying through the air, all while still overly appealing to classic European standards of beauty. And for what? Well, mainly because a lot of the people who controlled the coaching of the sport simply preferred that. It’s incredible what ingrained self-hate can do to the entire psychology of most disciplines. Anyways, once we figured out that skinny was bad science for good gymnastics, that all changed. VICE Sports Elle Reeve breaks down the progression.

Speaking of bodies, typically, drastic weight loss stories scare me. People start doing extreme things to change their appearance and risk their lives in unhealthy ways. But some people find a way to do it the right way and their stories can be really inspiring. Take the case of a man in Arizona, who when he went to the doctor weighing in at 600 pounds, decided to make some changes. He decided that every time he wanted to eat, he’d walk to Wal-Mart but wouldn’t consume until he got back. My man’s transformation is tremendous. Check it out.

I couldn’t care less if the U.S. men’s basketball team wins gold, after all the foolishness I have to listen to from other idiot Americans who couldn’t see their own exceptionalism if it were served to them on a hot dog. Which is not a sandwich. Anyway, for multiple reasons, this team was pretty poorly put together. Not to mention that they seem to have zero offensive sets beyond throwing a couple of off-ball screens and putting up a jumper. Win or lose, the team is not fun to watch, particularly. ESPN’s Marc Stein still has the United States atop his Olympic power rankings, though.

Free Food

Coffee Break: The cavalcade of nations that is the Olympics is just one part of the fun, what with all the cool uniforms and fun outfits during the opening and closing ceremonies and so on. But there’s another obvious marker worth checking out. Who’s got the best flag?

Snack Time: If you haven’t seen the trailer for the movie Hidden Figures about the black women who were instrumental in getting Apollo 11 to the moon for NASA (among other things), check it out here. Looks great.

Dessert: We’re worried about Bishop Eddie Long, y’all. This doesn’t look right.