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

WNBA teams pay tribute to tragedies

But some teams took a different approach than others

12:57 PMAfter last week’s mayhem tore the nation apart on multiple fronts, three WNBA teams decided to pay their respects to victims in different ways during the weekend.

First up were the Minnesota Lynx, who are closest to the mourning out of the three teams, with the death of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, rocking the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul community, never mind the rest of the country. The warm-up shirt each Lynx player wore on Saturday said, “Change starts with us. Justice and accountability,” while reading on the back, “Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. Black Lives Matter.” A Dallas police shield is just above the last phrase on the back of the shirt.

In New York, the Liberty took a similar tack on Sunday. Their shirts plainly read, “#BlackLivesMatter” and “#DallasFive.”

In Los Angeles, also on Sunday, the Staples Center decided to go full non-woke. Mind you, actress/singer Amber Riley (you might know her from the Fox show Glee) performed at this game, wearing a shirt that said “Selma Is Now.”

Welp.

Alton Sterling

gets a tribute mural in the parking lot where he died

12:00 PMAltonSterlingMural

Alton Sterling had his life taken this week by a police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Shortly thereafter, a mural of his face went up at the Triple S Food Mart, where he was known to sell CDs in the parking lot.

Short, simple and effective. No words needed.

(h/t @BrynStole)

African Skateboarding Championships

are underway in Madagascar

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We’ve highlighted skate programs in Africa before, but today, the African Skateboarding Championships kick off in Madagascar. It’s part of a 10-country tour that began in June and includes Angola, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Mozambique, Mauritius, Madagascar, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The World Skateboarding Federation (WSF) first sanctioned the tour after the International Olympic Committee announced that skateboarding will be a part of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

At the time, WSF also unveiled its plans for an elite training program called the African Skateboard Academy, designed to help develop the best young skaters in Africa. WSF will sponsor all travel and training costs.

“Last year, a record 32 participants competed in the WSF-sanctioned African Championships. Since then, we have had overwhelming interest in sanctioning National Championship programs in 10 other African countries,” WSF president Tim McFerran said in May. “In addition to WSF’s support of the first-ever Ethiopia skate park, we are looking to support three new skate parks in Africa in 2016-17. The African Skateboarding Academy was a natural concept to support other grassroots development programs and to help support Africa’s best in the hope of one day competing in the Olympics. With skateboarding’s potential of being named to the 2020 Olympics, it was the right time for us to activate the African Skateboarding Academy. We hope to further develop the growing number of elite-level skateboarders across Africa who don’t have the means to hone their skills in world class skate parks like the top U.S. skateboarders do.”

Skateboarding making it to the Olympics is one thing, as far as cultural wow moments go. But to see organizations creating grassroots level programs to make sure that the globe can compete on similar levels is rather remarkable. The continent’s history with skating isn’t entirely new. South Africa hosted the Maloof Money Cup World Championships back in 2011, which has since been replaced by the Kimberley Diamond Cup and is the biggest skate competition in Africa.

Winners of each national championship will qualify for the Skateboarding World Championships in October.

Daily Dose: 7/8/16

Heal yourself first, America

11:00 AMThis has been one of the more devastating weeks in this nation I can remember. If you’re the kind of person that considers it a “sides” issue, fine. But either way, everyone is hurting. Know that. And try to be nicer. Please.

Thursday night was another awful one in America. After a protest in Dallas, a group of people decided that they wanted to take matters into their own hands and try to kill a bunch of police officers and unfortunately succeeded in that goal. Five officers were killed, seven more were injured. If I’m being honest, I’d tell you that I can’t even deal with this. It’s not about black vs. blue, no matter what your local television may tell you. But understand that Dallas, among many other places, is suffering. ABC News has the story.

Let us not forget that just the day before, a man was shot and killed by the police in Minnesota. A woman named Diamond Reynolds managed to do something like we’ve never seen and documented the whole thing, all while her 4-year-old daughter was watching. As far as completely terrifying things that have happened in the past week go, this was absolutely up there. Nobody knew where she was for a while, but now she’s back home and talking about how the incident went. ABC’s Morgan Winsor reports.

So, let’s talk about a different country. One that’s having its own problems, on a different level. While we’re out here killing each other left and right with firearms of all types, in Great Britain, they’re passive-aggressively trying to ruin each others’ lives. There are people who believed that Brexit was legit going to make the country a better place, and there are others who, well, didn’t. The bottom line is that all this comes down to money, and how people can make it and where. FiveThirtyEight’s Anil Kashyap explains why this matters.

Rajon Rondo does not have the best reputation. The NBA point guard has gone off the chain a couple of times in his career about things that some would consider understandable, but now, he’s on a team that thinks it has a chance to contend in the Eastern Conference. The Chicago Bulls don’t, of course, because any conference with LeBron James in it is the one that The King is going to win. All that aside, James’ homey Dwyane Wade is on that Chicago team now, which is awkward, on some level. No worries, though. Rondo says it’s Jimmy Butler’s team! Yikes.

Free Food

Coffee Break: There are so many drops in the business: Metro Boomin, Mike Will, DJ Mustard. You know them all. But Cookin Soul’s drop just might be my favorite. Here’s a story about him, his whole deal and how he makes beats. If you claim to care about hip-hop, you should care about the producers. It’s 2016, they matter the most again.

Snack Time: I live in a place where the concept of bringing your kids somewhere is controversial. Almost as much as where you can bring your dog. Check out this wild story about a place that says: No kids after 8 p.m. (Read the comments.)

Dessert: This is a good song. You might like it, you might not. But it helps me heal.

That can only mean one thing

France’s Antoine Griezmann breaks out the dance moves at the Euros

5:31 PM

Monsieur Antoine Griezmann, salut, mec.

After opening the scoring in the semifinals of the 2016 UEFA European Championship with a blistering penalty kick against the best goalkeeper in the world, Germany’s Manuel Neuer, the 25-year-old Griezmann hit his full Drake, and broke out one of the many dances from the rapper’s 2015 “Hotline Bling” video. He did it again in the second half, which felt a tad gratuitous.

s-dIEC

It isn’t the first time he’s broken it out but it’s certainly better than the last time he did, in the game against Ireland in the round of 16. Still doesn’t beat Phoenix Suns guard Devon Booker, though.

Actually, Griezmann ended up with two goals on the night for France, and the host nation has moved on to the final on Sunday in Marseille against Portugal. So yeah, Griezmann wins.

Beyonce has spoken

so you might want to tune in

5:26 PMBeyonceMessage

In typical Queen Bey fashion, she shows up when she wants, kicks the truth, then whisks away with the towering presence that few entertainers of her stature have ever dared to reach, even if they had the power and wherewithal to do so.

As a sidebar to this message, which was posted Thursday on the homepage of the musical artist’s website Beyonce.com under a tab called “FREEDOM,” a definition of the word is offered.

“We all have the power to channel our anger and frustration into action,” it reads. “We must use our voices to contact the politicians and legislators in our districts and demand social and judicial changes.” Underneath, there are options to click to contact your local congressman or congresswoman, as well as links to protest the deaths of both Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

At her show in Glasgow, Scotland concert Thursday night, she displayed names of police brutality victims and held a moment of silence.

For all of you out here saying that talking on Twitter and writing essays won’t do anything, Beyoncé is giving not only her “hive” but also anyone who claims to care, an avenue to at least try to make a difference. She isn’t just out here singing about formations at the Super Bowl and making your local PTA go crazy, she’s literally trying to line people up.

Woke or Not Woke

It’s America’s favorite game show!

1:27 PMLet’s play a little game of Woke or Not Woke. *cue game show music, alert Steve Harvey*

Here’s how we play, kiddos. I show you a picture, then I tell you, if it’s woke or not. Now’s not the time to get into the discussion of whether or not that term has been fully bastardized into a mocking insult in all cases or not — two men are dead at the hands of police and celebrities are talking about it on the internet.

First contestant: Mischa Barton, star of the 2000s television series The O.C.

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Not woke.

Next contestant: Olivia Wilde, also a star of The O.C. and many other things.

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Woke.

Thanks for playing, kiddos!

Daily Dose: 7/7/16

Ciara and Russell Wilson tied the knot

10:31 AMWe taped a podcast on Wednesday. Staff writer Justin Tinsley told a scary story about his night on Saturday, senior style writer Jill Hudson espoused her love for ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue and I explained why there are things you just don’t wear on a basketball court. Tune in.

In two days, two black men have been killed by police. One murder was caught on camera. The other didn’t show the act, but the aftermath was captured. Both were terrifying. Both were awful. Both led to protests. Both were not unusual. Both videos will be watched. Some people will refuse to watch both. Both will infuriate people on both “sides” of the equation. Sadly, many people believe that both men who pulled those triggers will likely never see the inside of prison cell. People didn’t even have the chance to mourn Alton Sterling, before they killed Philando Castile. It is hard to bear.

On a far more uplifting note, singer Ciara and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson got married. They pulled the baller move of getting married on a weekday, which is a move I absolutely love. It’s hard not to root for this marriage. Wilson, for all the flack he gets, seems like a pretty nice dude, overall. I do sort of feel bad for his ex-wife. She was PUMPED when he got drafted. Anyway, for all the foolishness that my dude Future (Ciara’s baby father and ex-fiancé) has been pulling on social media, it’s good to see they managed to get hitched. ABC News’ Lesley Messer reports.

Every time we have an election in which two candidates are polarizing, third parties come up. In my lifetime, the only person to make any real impact as a candidate other than someone from the Democratic or Republican Party is Ross Perot. But now that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the front-runners, people are starting to believe that there might actually be another candidate to get behind. For that to be the case, it’s got to start somewhere. FiveThirtyEight’s Julia Azari explains which states might go for it. Introduce yourself to Gary Johnson, folks.

The Williams sisters are giving me life right now. These two are smoking people all over the shop at the All England Club during Wimbledon, and Serena completely dismantled some poor girl this morning. Venus is on the court as I write this, but I have no problem saying that I’m actively rooting for an all-Williams final. Serena will be in her ninth final Wimbledon, overall. I don’t want to overstate this, but black America could absolutely use a match like that as somewhat of a healing device, if you ask me.

Free Food

Coffee Break: There was a time when the only way black folks could get news about other black folks, that didn’t involve something terrible, was from black newspapers. Some are still around, but for the most part, they are a rare breed. Check out this breakdown of how their circulation has dipped over the years.

Snack Time: I love Vans. I wear them every day, everywhere. This new collaboration between the sneaker company and artist Robert Williams is mega dope, kiddos. That slip-on is extra fire, too.

Dessert: If you need an uplifting song that came out just last week, here you go.

Two days, two shootings, two dead black men

This time, it was live-streamed on Facebook

8:00 AMPhilando Castile is his name. He was 32 years old.

You can add it to the list of black people in the past [insert whatever number you want] years that have been killed by the police for one reason or another, during what are supposed to be routine interactions. This time, however, the aftermath was streamed live on Facebook.

WARNING: This video contains graphic content and may be upsetting to some viewers

This is what social networking is these days: a woman videotaping her boyfriend getting killed in the driver’s seat of a car by a police officer, after being stopped for a broken taillight, while her 4-year-old daughter looks on from the backseat.

As of early Thursday morning, no one knew where to find the woman who captured the video from the passenger’s seat.

She was later found, and identified herself as Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, before speaking on the situation.

“I did it [took the video] so that the world knows that these police are not here to protect and serve us,” Reynolds said. “They are here to assassinate us. They are here to kill us because we are black …”

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“Minnesota court records show only misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors on Philando Castile’s record,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s story reads, as if that has ever mattered. Castile worked as a cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school. After he was killed Wednesday night, hundreds gathered outside Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s mansion residence in St. Paul, where they remained overnight in protest.

It was just the night before, on Tuesday, when the people of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had been tasked with shouldering the burden of the death of Alton Sterling, who was killed in a parking lot after an altercation with police that left him on his back, dying on the asphalt. His son, understandably, couldn’t handle it.

It’s only Thursday.

Here’s Minneapolis NAACP president Nekima Levy-Pounds discussing the matter on the scene.

Less than a day ago, a woman named Nakia Jones offered a powerful soliloquy on Facebook about what it’s like to be black and be a police officer who joined the force to do the right thing. It should be noted that she’s from and works in Cleveland, where we’ve seen multiple cases of outrageous police shootings in the past five years. It’s a harrowing look at how the job affects actual humans every day.

It will not be obsolete anytime soon.

All Day Podcast: 7/6/16

Alton Sterling, Kevin Durant to the Warriors and ESPN’s 2016 Body Issue

5:39 PM“Do I really want to watch this? Do I really want to see this cycle of destruction all over again? But I watched it anyway. I don’t know why I did, but I just wanted to watch it. It wasn’t peace watching it. I wanted that confirmation that what people were saying about that video was true.”

These are the words of Undefeated staff writer Justin Tinsley, regarding the video released Tuesday night of Alton Sterling being killed by a police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On Wednesday morning, Tinsley, host Clinton Yates and senior style writer Jill Hudson gathered to discuss yet another death of a black male at the hands of a police officer.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed

Hudson shared how her two young sons reacted to Sterling’s death while Yates brought up the biggest problem he has with the situation.

The crew also chopped it up about Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors and ESPN’s 2016 Body Issue. Bet you can’t guess who Hudson’s favorite naked athlete was in this year’s issue.

Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at allday@theundefeated.com.

Daily Dose: 7/6/16

Protests erupt in Louisiana over CD man killed by police

9:12 AMLet’s get right to it. Tuesday night was another mess and we don’t have time for pleasantries right now.

You can add “selling CDs” to the list of things that might get you killed by the police in America, if you’re black. That appears to be the case in Baton Rouge, where a video circulating (trigger warning: it is graphic) shows a man named Alton Sterling in an altercation with police in a parking lot. As he’s being held down by police, three shots go off. People took to the street, and in the horrifying cycle of watch, kill, rinse, repeat that is a lot of how so-called “justice” goes in this nation, we’ve started all over again. ABC News has the story, with pictures.

Just being around places that feel “slavey” is rather difficult for me sometimes. There are certain parts of the country and the world where the history and tension is so palpable that just being present physically is not easy. Historic Charleston, South Carolina, and Île de Gorée in Senegal come to mind. Some people find this less problematic and one Michigan man went looking for a plantation his great-grandfather owned and found it. He then went and stayed there with his own family, and the residents, who are his cousins. Wow. Good Morning America explains.

When Kevin Durant finally arrives in the Bay Area, the assumption is that Golden State will never lose. In all seriousness, though, it’s a super team unlike any we will ever really see as far as how its assembly goes. But will it work? Will this look more like adding Dennis Rodman to the Chicago Bulls, or the Boston Celtics and The Big Three? Or are we looking at a Karl Malone on the Los Angeles Lakers situation, which ended up just being rather sad. For the Golden State Warriors, it seems impossible for it not to work out next year. But FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine points out that there’s a decent chance it doesn’t.

It’s summertime, so in general, you’re probably seeing the most human flesh you will all year. Beach trips, day parties, sporting events, whatever, it’s time to take it off. For this year’s edition of the ESPN Body Issue we’ve got quite a few characters who were more than willing. I need you to know that NFL players Vince Wilfork (yes, big boy) and Von Miller of celebratory thrust sack dance Super Bowl MVP fame are both in this edition, as well. Oh, and Olympian Greg Louganis, too. What a time to be alive.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Frank Ocean might not necessarily have any music dropping soon, but it doesn’t mean he’s not doing work. Check out rapper Young Thug and him in a new series of Calvin Klein ads, that are sure to have old-school heads yelling about what real hip-hop is, yatta yatta.

Snack Time: Looking for a quick salad to whip up that isn’t going to suck all your energy on a hot day? Here’s a pretty solid one that’ll take you no time at all to make.

Dessert: If you like rapper Oddisee, you’ll wanna check out this interview with him.