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The Morning Roast: 7/23/17

It’s NFL Nation takeover weekend, folks

The Undefeated

11:50 AMTraining camp is upon us, so ESPN’s 32 NFL Nation reporters have been hitting the bricks all weekend, appearing all over the network to get fans ready for the season. Things were no different this week with the roasters.

Hour 1

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With Kyrie Irving demanding out of Cleveland via a trade, we wonder: Is playing for LeBron James the actual issue here, or does Uncle Drew really want to lead a team? If the point guard were to get dealt, it would have reasonably large ramifications across the rest of the NBA. But there are also quite a few other people looking to make moves, including Derrick Rose, who might be headed to a contender.

Of course, no one needs NFL experts when Mina Kimes is around, because she basically knows everything about the league. No, seriously. So she ran down her top storyline of the season at this point, and we even got our full NFL highlight music to boot, a theme we’d return to quite frequently.

After that, we chatted with Michael Rothstein, who covers the Detroit Lions. He was refreshingly honest about their chances in the upcoming season to win the NFC North — which, as long as the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers are still in the division, isn’t going to be a realistic goal. We also got an update on where things stand with franchise legend Calvin Johnson, who apparently might be looking to get back into football.

Hour 2

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Of course, former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has been dominating the headlines recently because of his proclivity for calling escorts using his state-funded cellphone. He’s out of a job, and his predecessor, Houston Nutt, is the one who dropped a dime on him. But there was one detail of the story that went slightly underreported. The university had to cancel its annual event to teach ladies about college football, at which the parting gift was of, course, a cookbook. From there begat an entire separate conversation about which workshops and seminars we would launch if we could.

ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, who covers the Cincinnati Bengals, joined us to talk about where that squad could be headed, which subsequently turned into a long discussion about whether the Pittsburgh Steelers are the best team in the AFC North, or is it the Ravens. And we got more storylines from Mina.

By the time we got around to talking about The Bachelorette, Christian Yates had made it back from his artisan shoehorn pop-up shop at the yacht club to discuss the hometown visits. The Dean situation was the primary discussion, considering how poorly things went with his father on the show. Also, however, as the one who’s gone now, we had to speculate on who’s got the best chance to win going forward.

For Top 5, Domonique Foxworth was impressed by LeBron James’ sneak diss move toward his teammate Irving in which he put out a video listening to a Meek Mill song about loyalty. It was beyond petty, but who knows what his intentions were? Also, there’s Nutt’s incredible takedown of Ole Miss, which is one of the best sneak disses of all time. So we made it a Top 5, and Mr. Foxworth dominated.

Hour 3

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The takeover continued with John Keim, who covers Washington’s NFL franchise. Clinton Yates managed to keep his yelling to a minimum, and they broke down exactly why Kirk Cousins might have a great year. After breaking down the defense, Foxworth did his best to get his co-host riled up, and it just might have worked. Barely.

Speaking of franchises in a relatively reasonable state of flux, the Dallas Cowboys are having offseason issues. Quite a few players have had minor situations, but not enough to necessarily cause large-scale overhauls, which got Domonique thinking. There is a sliding scale of offenses that will trigger major penalties, depending on the number of touchdowns you score. The same works for coaches with off-field infractions. Big scorer? Get away with more stuff. Simple as that. He explains it in more detail.

Lastly, we talked to Seattle Seahawks reporter Sheil Kapadia, who was smart enough to admit that he didn’t even know as much about the team as Mina, which is a great way to ingratiate yourself to the program.

Enjoy!

Daily Dose: 7/21/17

Minneapolis marches for Justine Damond

10:58 AMWhat’s up, gang? I’ll be on Outside the Lines on Friday at 1 p.m., if you want to tune in. It’s the Friday Four panel, so it should be a good time. Clearly, there’s quite a bit to talk about.

The murder of Justine Damond was pointless, scary and problematic. We’ve heard the story a million times before. An officer was scared and in such fear that he shot and killed an innocent, unarmed person. Often, it’s a white officer shooting a black person. In this case, roles were reversed and a lot of people are suddenly paying a lot more attention to the injustice because Damond doesn’t look like, say, Philando Castile. That includes the man who represents both families in court, which tells you all you need to know about black lives in the U.S.

Being a black woman in Hollywood isn’t easy. Landing lead roles is just not something that happens. In addition, when you do land one, the industry typically wants to put you in a support role and expects you to act a certain way. There’s not a whole ton of room in a major motion picture for, say, a black woman who’s bookish and quiet. And for women in comedic roles, it’s a whole other ballgame. The Los Angeles Times talked to 18 black female comics about how old stereotypes are still affecting casting decisions.

Margaritas are a perfect summer drink. You’ve got a solid amount of citrus and enough salt to keep your taste buds moving, and you can even go the slushy route if you so choose. But margs can be quite dangerous, as we all know that tequila can be rather sneaky. Not to mention that there are a thousand different ways to make one and, depending on where you are, you’ll get a different combo. But because the folks down at FiveThirtyEight are doing the Lord’s work, they figured out the perfect recipe. You know, for science, or something.

Derrick Rose might find another NBA home. And it might be LeBron James’. Frankly, this is shocking on quite a few levels, as the point guard hasn’t really been a player of impact for some time in the league, not to mention the fact that he went through a rather ugly court case in the interim. But the Cleveland Cavaliers need a backup point guard, and if Rose can find his old form, he could be a solid addition to the Eastern Conference champions. Apparently the Los Angeles Lakers are interested too, which makes even less sense to me.

Free Food

Coffee Break: First, it was an all-encompassing Star Wars hotel that might be too much even for diehard fans like me. Now, Disney is creating a Marvel hotel, which is guaranteed to be a monster hit. It’ll be at Disneyland Paris, which I’ve been to, and is definitely pretty cool.

Snack Time: The Hundreds is a streetwear brand that I’ve been a fan of for a long time. But they’re a whole lot more than just T-shirts. This interview with Bobby Hundreds about how he built his empire is fascinating.

Dessert: NAV & Metro Boomin’s new heat is out, just in time for the weekend.

Twitter reacts to O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing

His released was expected, but many were still surprised

6:12 PMWhen it comes to long prison stints, the passage of time and thus acceleration of technology are a fascinating way to measure just how isolating incarceration can be. Now that O.J. Simpson will be freed later this year after he was granted parole by the Nevada Board of Parole, I wonder if he even will understand what Twitter is.

Because between his attitude in court, the jovial tone with which he took the proceedings and insistence that he’s still done nothing wrong, he’s clearly still living in a world that revolves around O.J. Nonetheless, the Twitterbox had these jokes.

Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” is arguably the most impactful song, with certainly the most poignant video we’ve seen in a while. But the opening line — “I’m not black, I’m O.J. … OK?” — was probably not something that Shawn Carter thought he might end up explaining to the man himself someday.

Shudder.

Seriously, this was really bizarre. If I’m O.J., I know this guy is voting for me to be free. Why would you be wearing a Chiefs tie, when you live in Nevada, in July, if you weren’t trying to show some solidarity through football?

To be fair, these were very cool trucks that got ruined by the most famous police pursuit in American history. I’d drive one, no doubt about it.

https://twitter.com/DJPaMCMa/status/888131260559785985

The thing is, a lot of people like O.J. He was good on TV and judging from what we tuned into Thursday, he still is. And in today’s media market, someone’s going to pay him big money just to see what his life is like on a day-to-day basis. There’s really no reason besides decent taste to believe that he won’t be on television again soon. He’s got to make money somehow, he owes people for his role in the double-murder.

Golf clap.

Quite a few people touched on this joke, but LaVar Ball can’t be that stupid. Say what you want about his attitude and strategy, dude is still from Los Angeles and knows that his life’s work will go up in smoke if he gets affiliated with Simpson.

Don’t even get me started on that guy. He was all over the place, didn’t seem to have any solid preparation or plan, but somehow it worked.

https://twitter.com/RealLifeKaz/status/888118239250661376

And this is ultimately the main point: He is still a draw, even if it’s for macabre reasons. It’ll be fascinating to see where the third chapter of his life takes him. This is the monster his first trial created. Now we apparently have to let it roam the hillside, also known as Florida.

Daily Dose: 7/20/17

The nation’s eyes are on O.J. Simpson yet again

1:26 PMSometimes you wake up in the morning and you can feel a crazy news day in your bones. At least at this stage of my life I can. Thursday is going to be one of those days, I think.

https://twitter.com/WeNotSocks/status/888017406924390400

So, where to start with the president. First off, there was the interview with The New York Times. Rambling doesn’t even begin to describe how all over the place that conversation was, just on balance. Then he said he would have never hired Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he knew he’d recuse himself from the Russia investigation, which is a staggering admission. There’s also a story circulating that the White House is using funds designed to promote the Affordable Care Act to denigrate it.

O.J. Simpson is legitimately back in the news. We all knew this was coming, but it’s somehow still surreal to think that we’re going to be looking at Orenthal, once again, in a courtroom, rapt to find out what his fate will be. It clearly won’t have the same social impact as The Verdict, but this is straight-up huge news across every network. This scenario is obviously opening up some very old wounds for a lot of people, so whatever the parole verdict may be, it will be extremely emotional.

Some ideas are so misguided that you often wonder how they got so far. Such is the case over at HBO, where apparently the adapters of Game of Thrones are going to create another show called Confederate. And it sounds like it plans to be exactly what you might imagine: a world in which slavery is still legal and the South succeeded in breaking away. We need not point out how instantly awful this might become. But the risk of letting someone run wild with an ahistorical reimagining of our past is just one that few of us will trust, overall.

In the past five years, the NBA has made real efforts to expand its footprint globally. Since the Dream Team in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, the league’s popularity has blown up and the league continues to push. The NBA Africa Game, a matchup that began in 2015, takes place Aug. 5. Now they’re heading to one of the biggest nations on Earth: India. The Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant will be the face of that tour. While there isn’t a full game yet, he will be holding camp and basically acting as an ambassador. Very cool.

Free Food

Coffee Break: I don’t typically freak out over every single leaked still shot from a set or makeup room, but in the case of Star Wars, I’ll make an exception. We’ve finally got a visual of Donald Glover playing a young Lando Calrissian, which is a very tough role to tackle for so many reasons, namely Billy Dee Williams.

Snack Time: Speaking of bad ideas, Atari is putting out a new product that puts speakers in the bill of a baseball cap, meaning the notion of private listening on, say, public transportation is one step closer to complete oblivion.

Dessert: This song blew me away.

 

All Day Podcast: 7/20/17

A trip to Minneapolis for the X Games

10:25 AM

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Your boy took a trip to Minneapolis last week and had a blast. We were there for the X Games, and I had the pleasure of hosting a couple of ESPN Radio shows while in town, which was fun too. U.S. Bank Stadium is quite the facility and certainly made a monster impact on the vibe of the event, in a great way. That place is beautiful.

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drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrop!

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As for the week, I went to the top of an 82-foot ramp, roamed the entire event and even got to see the bowels of the operation that gave an interesting perspective on how everyone interacted off the field. The sheer number of people involved in the undertaking was pretty staggering.

Outside of that, I caught up with Gary Rogers, whom you may remember from Skateline NBD, the best skate slash whatever show on the internet for my money. He was super chill, and ahead of his stint as a skateboard analyst for the telecast we got to meet and talk about the entire experience for him. For a dude from The Bay who really just loves to skate, he was having a great time.

After that, out at X Fest, there were tents galore with activities, giveaways and experiences of all sorts. There were skateparks for kids to hit and also an outdoor bar if you wanted suds. Across the plaza from there, I met Mark Rivard, an artist and educator who works with kids in Minneapolis. He paints and draws on skateboards and uses art the fun way to enrich lives.

In his booth, the works of his students were on display, coupled with drawing stations for anyone who wanted to get creative. We chatted about art, the event coming to his home state and his experience working with kids. I was a fan, and you can find more of his work on site at #doradthings.

Lastly, Russell Westbrook. The NBA MVP showed up on the Sports Illustrated red carpet rocking a T-shirt that says “Fight Racism,” a relatively benign but still rather forward statement. Westbrook isn’t just any ordinary basketball star, though. He’s also a fashion icon, so his message goes a little further than most. That’s a good thing, if you’re wondering.

It was a long trip but a fruitful one. Enjoy!

Photo by Clinton Yates/The Undefeated

Daily Dose: 7/19/17

Russell Westbrook rocks ‘Fight Racism’ shirt

3:03 PMI’ve got a new podcast coming out later Wednesday, and it’ll be a review of my time in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, that town is back in the news because of another police shooting, this time involving a yogi who was shot and killed.

Russell Westbrook has been making fashion statements for a long time. But Tuesday night at Sports Illustrated‘s Fashionable 50 event, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard presented a larger message than just “look at me.” He wore a T-shirt that says “Fight Racism” on the red carpet, and he’s the cover boy. It’ll be interesting to see how this flies in the state he plays in, as opposed to the city he’s from and lives in, Los Angeles. To be clear, Westbrook also likes the way it looks. Obviously.

The president of the United States has a sidepiece. He happens to be the president of Russia. And like in many covert relationships, because he’s not being honest about it, the rest of his world is becoming more difficult to maintain. As it turns out, there were actually a whole lot of people in that Trump Tower meeting that his son had with a Russian lawyer, and the number appears to be going up. Also, the president apparently decided to have a separate meeting with Vladimir Putin and his interpreter at the G-20 summit.

If you don’t know, O.J. Simpson has a parole hearing coming up Thursday. If you’ve forgotten, he’s in prison for a crime completely unrelated to the murders of his ex-wife and her friend. He’s been locked up for pulling a gun on two guys over some memorabilia of his in Las Vegas. Simpson has been incarcerated for nine years, and there are people who believe that he’s likely to get out. I’m infinitely fascinated with what will be the third chapter of Simpson’s life and what he’ll be like if he is freed.

Magic Johnson is extremely high on Lonzo Ball. Ever since the rookie was named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League and his team won the title, Johnson’s been proved right to an extent. Mind you, Magic was hyping homeboy immediately after the draft, so this is nothing new. And we thought LaVar Ball had a lot to say. Now, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations says those triple-doubles will be coming quite frequently in the regular season too. There’s no question that they’ll be fun to watch next season.

Free Food

Coffee Break: It never ceases to amaze me how many people the Kardashians are connected to in one way or another. It’s part of the reason that I call them America’s greatest television family. Turns out, the doctor who delivered Beyoncé’s babies is also the Kardashian deliverer, and even delivered Kim herself.

Snack Time: Rae Sremmurd are in the prime of their careers. Hit songs, great videos, sold-out shows. Now they’ve got a comic book featuring their likeness coming to fruition. It’s supposed to hit shelves in October.

Dessert: For whatever reason, I love the A$AP Rocky/Lana Del Rey relationship. They’ve got two new songs.