Maria Sharapova’s doping ban …
reminds us of the racial body-shaming Serena Williams has endured
4:46 PMOn Wednesday, the International Tennis Federation suspended 29-year-old Russian player Maria Sharapova from competition for two years because she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.
The ban is ironic, taking into account the No. 1-ranked player Serena Williams, whom critics have body-shamed throughout her career, often because she is an African-American. Williams, 34, has never been sanctioned for using a banned substance.
For years, Williams’ muscular build has led to criticism and accusations of doping, which at times goes too far with extremely hateful labels surrounding her identity as a black woman.
searching for "serena williams gorilla" is enough to make you wanna fight. well, make ME wanna fight. wow, man.
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) July 7, 2012
Serena Williams looks like a gorilla, and sounds like a gorilla when she grunts while hitting the ball. In conclusion, she is a gorilla.
— Jeremy Frary (@Zonkednerd) June 6, 2015
On the other hand, Sharapova’s taller and slimmer frame has led to the “Is Maria Sharapova the most beautiful woman in tennis history?” topic of debate. Sharapova has never been a part of ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body Issue, but Williams put her oft-criticized body on display when she covered the first Body Issue in 2009. Since then, the hateful comments have persisted, even leading Williams to wear long sleeves during Wimbledon in 2015.
At Sports Illustrated‘s “Sportsperson of the Year” ceremony, Williams addressed the body-shaming in her acceptance speech.
“I’ve had people look down on me, put me down because I didn’t look like them — I look stronger,” she said. “I’ve had people look past me because the color of my skin. I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman. I’ve had critics say I [would] never win another Grand Slam when I was only at No. 7 — and here I stand today with 21 Grand Slam titles, and I’m still going.”
It is hoped that the body-shaming of Williams will be put to rest for a while.
NFL’s Twitter hacked
Laremy Tunsil probably feels for Roger Goodell
4:00 PMOn June 7, 2016, at 12:36 p.m., NFL commissioner Roger Goodell died — at least according to the NFL’s official Twitter account.
NFL Twitter gets hacked, every sports organization & big company loses an hour of their day to secure social handles pic.twitter.com/yhVX8xNnD5
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 7, 2016
The tweet was deleted, much to the Twitter hacker’s chagrin. But that didn’t stop the hacker. How about a few more hacked tweets for good measure?
NFL Twitter account still is being hacked.
And Roger Goodell still is alive. pic.twitter.com/RLoNoP204P
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 7, 2016
Don’t worry, Goodell is still alive. The tweets were deleted within minutes. The #TwitterGate crisis was averted.
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) June 7, 2016
Took Jesus 3 day's to come back from the dead. Only took Goodell 3 minutes
— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) June 7, 2016
— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) June 7, 2016
Tuesday’s hack wasn’t the first the NFL has recently experienced.
Just ask Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil, who was once projected to be the top pick in April’s NFL draft. Someone hacked his Twitter account 13 minutes before the draft started, and his dreams of being a top-five pick went up in smoke (Tunsil fell to Miami at the No. 13 selection). The former Ole Miss Rebel was publicly humiliated and vilified after an old video of him smoking marijuana with a gas mask was tweeted from his account and a conversation with a former college coach about the payment of bills was published on his Instagram. Tunsil lost millions as a result of these two hacks, a situation to which Goodell responded by saying, “… It’s all part of what makes the draft so exciting.”
The takeover of the NFL’s Twitter account surely added some excitement to a typical Tuesday afternoon. Only this time the league and its leader were on the receiving end of said excitement.
Laremy Tunsil needs to tell the @NFL Twitter to change its password. 👀
— Kirk Morrison (@kirkmorrison) June 7, 2016
Daily Dose: 6/7/16
Kimbo Slice, Prince and Bobbi Kristina Brown — all gone too soon
11:00 AMToday is a reminder of just how short life can be. On Monday night, mixed martial arts fighter and internet sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson died at the age of 42. And today would have been the 58th birthday of Prince, who died in April. Rest in peace, Kimbo Slice, and we wish we still had you here, Prince, on your born day.
Speaking of the harsh reality of premature death, singer Bobby Brown recently opened up for the first time about the death of his 22-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, in July 2015. For anyone who has followed the situation in the past year, you know how perplexing the details have been. Bobbi Kristina was the daughter of Brown and the late R&B singer Whitney Houston, who died in February 2012. Both Houston and, three years later her daughter, were found dead in a water-filled bathtub. Bobby Brown, the author of a soon-to-be-released book about his life titled Every Little Step, has not shied away from revealing who he believes is responsible for the deaths of both his daughter and ex-wife. Check out the special 20/20 interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts for more details.
Hillary Clinton is the only woman running for president, right? Nope. Meet Jill Stein, the Green Party’s candidate for president. Stein was also the Green Party’s candidate in the 2012 presidential election, during which she received 469, 501 votes. That’s less than a half-percent (0.3, to be exact) of the total vote. It’s certainly a long shot that she’ll be the nation’s next, and first female president, but Stein has an interesting story — even though said story is stuck in the shadow of Clinton, the anticipated Democratic Party nominee. ABC News’ Meghan Keneally has the report.
The NBA Finals have been far from exciting so far. Heading into the series, a matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers — but more importantly between the Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Cav LeBron James — is what everyone wanted and needed before the basketball season came to a close. Yet, two games and two blowouts into the Finals, we’re already reminiscing about the exhilarating seven-game Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Two more Golden State wins and James will suffer his first championship series sweep since his first Finals appearance in 2007. But not so fast. Golden State still has to win two more games, and the numbers say Cleveland has a chance — to not get swept, at least. FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine breaks it down.
Brock Turner’s father was out of line. Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer who was convicted of sexual assault, received a six-month jail sentence. His father, Dan A. Turner, responded to the sentence with a letter calling for probation for his son, not jail time. There’s no harm in defending your child, but the way in which his father did it was utterly distasteful. “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life,” he wrote. ESPN’s Mike Golic cut neither Turner nor the judge any slack Tuesday morning on Mike & Mike.
Coffee Break: After winning Super Bowl 50 in February, the Denver Broncos got the treatment every championship-winning squad receives in this country — a trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama. The Broncos, and particularly Denver’s recently retired quarterback Peyton Manning, were greeted in a special, one-word fashion by Obama, an ode to Manning’ favorite audible call.
Snack Time: The Miss USA crown is back in Washington, D.C., for the first time in 14 years. So let’s meet Miss District of Columbia, Deshauna Barber.
Dessert: Today is also Allen Iverson’s birthday. The class of 2016 Hall of Fame inductee, and arguably the best pound-for-pound player in NBA history, turned 41. Remember when he crossed up Michael Jordan?
We can’t forget his torment at Rikers Island
4:35 PMExactly a week from today, I will get to celebrate my 23rd birthday.
Exactly a year ago today, 22-year-old Kalief Browder committed suicide, two years after he was released from Rikers Island, where he served a three-year jail sentence for a crime he was never convicted of committing. Browder
would’ve should’ve celebrated turned 23, this year, too, his birthday 19 days before mine.
Instead, today, we must remember Browder as another young black man whose life ended too soon — another representation that the criminal justice system needs to change. But Browder’s case is a little different. He took his own life, in one sense making it out of the justice system, though his struggles with mental health proved he never made it out fully.
— #freemeekmill (@lakinimani) June 6, 2016
— bragg. (@keaux_) June 6, 2016
Browder committed suicide after he was released from jail, at his home in the Bronx. At the age of 16, he was arrested for stealing a backpack and awaited trial at Rikers Island for three years, two of which he spent in solitary confinement where he reportedly attempted to commit suicide several times. After his release in June 2013, he enrolled at Bronx Community College, back on the path he likely envisioned for himself before his wrongful imprisonment. The lasting effect of the system’s shortcomings resulted in Browder’s post-jail paranoia and delusions, and ultimately to his decision to end his life.
In a February editorial, The New York Times called for the reform of New York City’s criminal justice system, beginning with the refinement — and perhaps elimination — of Rikers Island itself.
“As for the island, it should be given back to the sea gulls, or used for affordable housing, or an extension of La Guardia Airport, or any number of other conceivable, nontoxic purposes,” the editorial reads. “And once the poison is removed, the city could rename it Browder’s Island, for young Kalief, whose suffering there has come to symbolize all that went so horribly wrong there for so many years.”
Rikers Island renamed in honored of Kalief Browder? I’m not sure we’ll ever get a chance see this happen. Just like Browder never got to see his 23rd birthday.
East Los Angeles
is awash in public art
7:00 AMThis week, I took a trip to East Los Angeles to shop for vinyl and, more importantly, found art to look at. I stopped into a little shop called Maintain where they sold art as well as supplies and clothes. There, I talked to the artist on duty who pointed me to a couple different walls around Northeast Los Angles, where its heavy Hispanic population is most certainly active in the art community.
Here’s a mural on the side of the building, where there’s also a barbershop. If you look closely, you’ll see the name of the store in one of the characters.
Here’s the backside of a restaurant called La Abeja (The Bee). This is technically not a legal wall, but on the far left (not visible in the photo), the artists did include the name of the restaurant as part of the mural.
Here are a couple more shots from around random parking lots and murals, many legal.
If you ever get a chance to go, make sure you get out of your car and walk around. There’s plenty to look at.
gets the mural treatment on Melrose Avenue
7:00 AMSpeaking of Los Angeles, of course Kobe Bryant was a legendary Laker there. So, Long Beach artist JC Ro, whose angular style applies fantastically on large-scale works, paid tribute. This time around, for something he calls #MambaOnMelrose, he documented the entire process from outline to finish. Check it out, below.
View this post on Instagram
beautiful mornin' 🎶 …still a lot of detail to add, so not sure if today will be the last day, but I'm sure it will be another great day! Thank you to everyone who has walked by and shown love, or cruised up and said "yo I follow you on IG!" or snapped a pic for the gram/snap, or played with my dog Jack, or drove by yelling what up out the window of your car… you guys have made this week an unforgettable experience 🙏🙌 thank you all! #MambaOnMelrose 🎨💨🔺🐍🏀
Should be great pub for Shoe Palace.
hopes to go out with a bang in Austin, Texas
7:00 AMThe X Games got underway Thursday from Austin, Texas and end Sunday. You can check out the TV schedule of events here. At the site, there are all sorts of installations beyond the sports, giving it a festival feel for those interested. And if you’re in Texas, make sure you get there because this is the last year the event is being held in the city that prides itself on weirdness.
Also, check out this vert ramp.
— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) June 2, 2016
Anyways, there are all sorts of fun things happening around the venue, including an interview series from Skype where fans get to talk with the athletes. Check out this interview with Leticia Bufoni, a street skater from Brazil who also surfs in her spare time.
may feature skateboarding and surfing, among other new sports
7:00 AMThe International Olympic Committee announced some tremendous news Wednesday. The 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo are one step closer to featuring skateboarding, surfing, sports climbing, baseball/softball and karate. If the IOC approves the sports at a meeting in August before the start of the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, we could see a far more urban look in Japan in four years.
“The change would be the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic program in modern history,” an IOC statement said. Indeed. “It is exciting that skateboarding could possibly be included in the Olympics. This is not only a great opportunity for our sport and the skaters, but also for the Games. It is now more important than ever to preserve the unique culture of skateboarding which makes our sport so appealing and relevant,” Tony Hawk said.
With everyone in the skate world so excited, people are having fun with how this could look. Check out this piece by Pigeon Boy, a Melbourne, Australia-based artist.
— Africa Skate (@africaskate) June 3, 2016
Kevin Romar plays SKATE
and then something kind of crazy happens
7:00 AMKevin Romar is a pro skater and a DJ who rides for Blind Skateboards and hails from Cypress, California. He linked up with his teammate Sewa Krotkev — who’s Dutch, sort of (he was technically born in Russia), and rides goofy, if you care about that — to play a game of SKATE, with a twist. They used mini-boards.
If you’re not familiar, SKATE is like HORSE in basketball. Match tricks until you run out of letters, etc. Tune in to see who wins. And again, stay until the end to see who wins. This surprise twist is even better than the last!
is a rock star, even in an industrial park
7:00 AMTheotis Beasley might have the best Instagram account in all of skateboarding. When he’s not on his board, he’s partying with his famous friends, doing a television interview or copping jewels. His publicist must be amazing. But, of course, when the Nike SB team leader does get out to skate, he’s tremendous.
Check out this video of him working a park table as part of a promotional shoot for the Dew Tour coming up later in July. Make sure you watch until the end, as there’s a funny twist.
— Theotis Beasley (@theotisbeasley) June 3, 2016
OffSCenter with Reese Waters
talks to The Undefeated
12:54 PMWhile I was out in Los Angeles for the premiere of Ezra Edelman’s 30 for 30 O.J.: Made in America, I got a chance to sit down and chop it up with Reese Waters. He’s a comedian who’s originally from Washington, D.C., and you’ve definitely seen on SportsCenter offering his takes on the sports world from the fan standpoint with a laugh.
The conversation went all over the map, covering everything from The Bachelorette, to black people in baseball and of course, The Undefeated. You’ll also get to find out which NFL player Reese hated the most growing up.
Jon B and Klay Thompson
are long-lost brothers. They need to meet.
all is good fam..I think its time I meet this Klay Thompson cat tho.
Twitter needs that meme
— Jon B (@OfficialJonB) May 29, 2016
When it comes to R&B bangers by white guys, there’s Jon B. and everyone else. His 1997 smash jam They Don’t Know will still get your auntie moving on the dance floor and waving her hands in the air. His run was limited but not entirely ineffective. He did appear on the 199os TV show Sister, Sister as himself once and the album Cool Relax actually went double platinum. But his Instagram is still private, in fact.
Oh, and he looks damn near exactly like the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson.
People had been noting this fact on Twitter for some time, but with the newfound spotlight of the NBA Finals, more folks are noticing, including the artist himself. He even said he wants to meet Thompson to give the world that side-by-side.
This is one of those things where the fantasy might actually be better than the reality, because of the potential for awkwardness. You know when one of your parents has a close college friend and insists that you should meet their similarly aged kids? After about the age of 10, that becomes an extremely dicey situation. It can go either horribly or awesomely, but sometimes you want to spare the embarrassment for everyone so you actually hang around your parents to avoid interaction. Let’s just imagine how this conversation would go.
Klay: Jon! What up, mane. Glad you could make it out to Oracle Arena.
Jon: Anytime. Hey, you wanna go see Popstar after the game? I hear Andy Samberg says I’m his idol. Isn’t that weird?
Klay: Uh, well. Okay.
Jon: Trust me, it’ll be fun. We can play role reversal. Do you mind if I shoot with you in warm-ups, like Drake did that one time with Kentucky?
Klay: Well, I’d have to ask coach.
Klay: Okay, maybe not.
Jon: All good. So, what’s your favorite song of mine?
Klay: I’ve never heard your music. But I did once dress as you for Halloween. People thought I was the guy from Color Me Badd.
Jon: Haha, I get that all the time. Well, good luck tonight. My favorite player on the Cavs is Kevin Love.
Klay: Me too! I appreciate the support. My mom is your biggest fan.
Is this really what we want? Yes, in fact, it is. Warriors, please make this happen.
Daily Dose: 6/3/16
It’s official: Prince died of a drug overdose
9:52 AMOn Thursday, Pardon The Interruption‘s Tony Kornheiser announced that his local radio show on ESPN 980 would be going off the air in June, and resuming in podcast form. It’s been a tremendous run for the man they call “Mr. Tony.”
The truth regarding Prince is finally revealed. He died of an opioid overdose, according to autopsy results. Specifically, it was the drug fentanyl, a powerful painkiller that was responsible. Opioid dependencies are a real issue in this country. Nearly everyone you know has a story of someone whose life has either ended or been ruined from an addiction. I had a college friend whose dad ended up going to prison after breaking into to a CVS to steal OxyContin. Anyway, ABC News’ explains exactly how this epidemic is affecting America at large.
When ride-sharing services first came out, they were a boon for people of color. Instead of having to hail a cab, the color of the money in your pocket was more important than one’s skin. With home-sharing services however, well, things get a little bit dicier. It’s amazing the lengths people will go to avoid having people of color stay in their homes. Many will literally reject money in their pockets simply based on the sound of someone’s name, which is nothing new. Nightline investigates the problem of #AirbnbWhileBlack.
We’re in full swing for wedding season. If your weekends aren’t already packed with various nuptial celebrations, then, lucky you! This might be a good time to tell you that I’ll be gone all next week for a wedding in Italy, so we won’t be seeing each other for that duration. That aside, when it comes to getting hitched, music is a critical factor. That and an open bar, but that’s another story. It fascinates me what folks consider good wedding music. Luckily, FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey has put together a list of the best songs.
Neymar is one of the most popular soccer players on earth. Justin Bieber is one of the most popular recording artists on the planet. So when they get together, what would you imagine they do? Play music or soccer? Actually, they play soccer while listening to music. Sort of. The Biebs was having a cookout and Neymar was having a beer and decided to get a little juggle session going. And to be fair, Bieber does a whole lot more than hold his own with the Barcelona striker. ESPNFC’s Chris Wright has the video.
Coffee Break: When it came to movies, as a kid, there were few I enjoyed as much as The Last Dragon. Any flick with a character named Bruce Leroy and Sho Nuff is going to be a winner. But how exactly did this movie even get made in 1985? Well, here’s an oral history about it with a funny reveal about who was supposed to play the lead.
Snack Time: Remember that old McDonald’s ad that took a serious bend into what we like to call “urban” from a marketing standpoint? Yeah, well, as it turns out, your boy Pusha T wrote that. For real, King Push is the man.
Dessert: Doris Burke is my favorite basketball analyst in the world. She should be yours, too.