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

Daily Dose: 8/23/16

Ryan Lochte getting endorsement deals dropped by the day

11:00 AMIn 2015, I graduated undergrad from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Today marks the first day of classes at UNC, meaning it’s the first day of college for the class of 2020. I’m officially old as hell.

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s fall from grace continues. During the 2016 Summer Games, Lochte and three other swimmers claimed to have been held up at gunpoint after a night out in Rio de Janeiro. Turns out Lochte “overexaggerated” the story, for which he’s taken a lot of heat on social media, and now he’ll be paying the price in endorsement dollars. Four companies that sponsor Lochte have decided to either terminate or not renew deals with him. One of those companies is probably the biggest swimwear outfitter in the world and another is arguably the biggest brand in the world, period. Not a good look for Lochte. ABC News’ Michael Edison Hayden and Paul Blake have the details.

There’s a frequent debate when it comes to Carmelo Anthony. And there are many entry points into the discussion. For example, on Monday in the The Undefeated newsroom, some asked the question, “Was Carmelo Anthony a first-ballot Hall of Famer before he won his third gold medal this Olympics?” The answer is yes. Though he may never win an NBA title — which his fellow 2003 NBA draftees LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have already done — Anthony has had quite the decorated NBA career thus far, and is one of the best scorers the league has ever seen. However, the fact of the matter is NBA Melo might be better than Olympic Melo. I mean, he is the first American to ever win three basketball golds. FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner has the numbers on just how better Olympic Melo is.

Russell Wilson and Ciara moved their wedding three times. But for good reason. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks quarterback played for North Carolina State University for four years before he transferred to and was drafted out of the University of Wisconsin. Wilson clearly still has love for North Carolina, and wanted to get married to his now wife, singer Ciara, there. But the celebrity couple moved their wedding from the Old North State due to North Carolina House Bill 2, which limits anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community. (Remember, the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of HB2.) ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia has the details on how the bill affected where Wilson and Ciara got married.

The Frank Ocean wait is over and it appears he’s back on top. After four years since Channel Orange, countless frustrated fans, Twitter jokes and memes, Frank Ocean finally dropped his long-awaited new album last weekend (and bonus: a visual album to go along with it). Originally, the project was supposed to be called Boys Don’t Cry, but the album is named Blonde. To be honest, I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to it yet in its entirety. And while I’ve heard mixed reviews, that doesn’t seem to matter. According to Billboard, the album will likely debut at No. 1 by the end of the week.

Free food

Coffee Break: Last weekend, I went to see Drake and Future perform on the Summer Sixteen Tour. So did Undefeated sports and culture writer Justin Tinsley. My seat was on the floor. JT’s seat was in the upper level. So, we bring to you “Views from the rafters, views from the front row.”

Snack Time: For all the Kobe Bryant fans out there, today is the recently retired Los Angeles Lakers great’s 38th birthday. On Aug. 24 (fitting because he wore the No. 24), the city of Los Angeles will celebrate “Kobe Bryant Day.”

Dessert: This GIF of Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez. I love her.

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:

A post shared by Ryanlochte (@ryanlochte) on

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.