All Day Podcast: 6/1/17
NBA Finals, Muhammad Ali’s death and LeBron James’ eloquence
2:42 PMWhat’s up, kiddos, we’re back. The podcast has been retooled a bit, as you’ll notice, which I explain more in the show.
This week, I talked to Marc Spears about the upcoming NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is already an epic matchup even before the games start. If you don’t know, it’s the first time that two teams have faced off three times in a row in the NBA Finals, and the first time it’s happened in any of the major American sports leagues where the teams were tied 1-1 after the first two series.
Perhaps most interesting was Spears’ discussion about what the Dubs mean to Oakland, California, as a place. He went deep on what that team moving from one part of the Bay Area to another, San Francisco, could signal for not only basketball fans but also for other sports franchises there.
Switching gears: I had the pleasure of chatting with Tom Junod, who’s got a new story for ESPN The Magazine about Muhammad Ali and his last days. It’s rich with detail, specifics and beautiful prose surrounding the greatest man alive, in his time. If you’re not familiar with the intricacies of how bodies are prepared for burial in Islam, there are details on that. Junod delves into the process of getting this story done, not just the topic, which as a writer I find fascinating.
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In another White House surprise, Trump declares June as African-American Music Appreciation Month
Where were you when Trump announced he liked black music?
JUST IN: White House proclaims June 2017 as African-American Music Appreciation Month
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 31, 2017
On the surface, this is hilarious. Not like, “Oh, I’m so pleased with this piece of humor,” but more of an “every time I think I couldn’t imagine something more ridiculous, it happens and my only choice is to laugh” kind of funny.
Since we’re already in a good mood, let’s take a look at this press release, never mind the content of the declaration itself. It should be noted that this time last year President Barack Obama did the same thing, in case you were wondering where the motivation for this move came from.
“Songs by African-American musicians span the breadth of the human experience and resonate in every corner of our Nation — animating our bodies, stimulating our imaginations, and nourishing our souls,” the Obama release read. “In the ways they transform real stories about real people into art, these artists speak to universal human emotion and the restlessness that stirs within us all. African-American music helps us imagine a better world, and it offers hope that we will get there together.”
President Donald Trump’s declaration went so far as to specifically reference Chuck Berry, Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. It’s also double-spaced and misspells the word “canon” as “cannon,” but that’s a different story altogether. How Kendrick Lamar, Maxwell and the Carolina Chocolate Drops were left off this list, who knows. In all seriousness though, the thought of the president sitting around jamming to black music of yesteryear is quite the exercise.
Wake us up when the president is actually inviting black musicians to play in the White House in front of his friends and family. This guy is always here, right on time.
African American …..what would happen if it was white music appreciation month.
cant both appreciate music at the same time
— friend (@jenango3) May 31, 2017
‘The Bachelorette’ brand has a major problem
if a known racist is on the cast, the fun of the show is dead
3:22 PMWhen ABC announced that Rachel Lindsay would be the network’s first black Bachelorette, many corners of the content creation world were happy. It was a progressive move for a show that was finally breaking into the full-blown mainstream of American entertainment society. The casting decision was the first one in a while that actually brought new viewers to the program. Now, they’ve got a massive issue on their hands that might be impossible to fix.
Lee, a contestant who came in playing a quick guitar riff and basically showing off his honky-tonk bona fides, is apparently super racist. I say apparently because in the past few days his tweets from not so long ago have been unearthed, and it’s like a bigot’s greatest-hits record.
— Erika (@emesola) May 31, 2017
I don't believe for a second that ABC didn't know Lee was a racist. #TheBachelorette
— K. Marie (@kaymariephd) May 31, 2017
It’s a bummer on so many different levels. No. 1, this dude is still on the show. Only ABC knows how far he goes on the program. Secondly, Lee very strangely stated in the first episode that he was going to have some issues with people in the house. Mind you, there are more black contestants this year than ever. The promos for upcoming episodes have him set up to basically be a villain. That’s one thing in Bachelor Nation, but it’s quite another when the person in question is out here recklessly tweeting about how #BlackLivesMatter is a terrorist group. Non-update: It’s not.
But perhaps most important is whether the creators and producers of the show were aware of Lee’s social media exploits before putting him on the show. Those tweets were from last year. It’s not like these were ancient. A casual, cursory look at his history on the site would have turned these up, presumably raising a red flag about this guy’s intentions and, hello, general demeanor.
The next step in that logic is the one that no one wants to believe: that a racist was cast on purpose. If you’ve ever seen UnReal, you know that this was an actual storyline in season two that isn’t far outside of the realm of reality, pardon the pun. For all the ridiculous arcs that are pursued on a show like this, planting a bigot in the mix is not the move, at all. It’s a super joy-killer for people who tried to enjoy this show in good faith, considering it’s TV dating.
It puts the entire premise of this season in a huge moral quandary. Are we seriously supposed to keep watching a season in which a guy who clearly hates a lot of people is the main antagonist? Never mind how he deals with Rachel, a black woman, and all that entails from a societal standpoint. It’s just not a good thing going forward at all, for a season that had so much promise.
LeBron James’ home vandalized
Reports say someone painted N-word on side of house
1:49 PMWhen it comes to intimidation, spray-painting someone’s home is about as intimate as it gets for nonviolent crime. As someone who’s been an advocate of street art my whole life, there are still certain things that are considered off-limits, to an extent. Houses are one of them. But more importantly, the use of racial slurs in such a situation is clearly an act of aggression designed to scare through racism.
Someone decided to go that route on one of LeBron James’ homes in the Los Angeles area recently. According to TMZ, the slur in question was the N-word, leading me to believe that the person who did this was at least 40 years old, if I’m gonna wildly speculate. The N-word as an aggressive stand-alone tactic is just old-school enough for me to think that anyone who deploys it in such a way is used to hearing it basically in that context alone.
Because the NBA Finals start Thursday, this will probably turn into a much bigger story than if it were August, but nonetheless, it’s still a pretty scary violation of property.
Daily Dose: 5/31/17
More fish on the ice, please
12:18 PMI just want everyone to know that Domonique Foxworth wore a tremendous suit on First Take on Wednesday. He’s out here looking like the early-service preacher, and I’m very here for it.
“You used to call me on my cellphone. Late night when you needed my love.” As much as those Drake lyrics might have changed the game on the after-hours “shoot your shot” circuit, they’re not a way of business for a sitting president. There are rules to this game, and random personal phone calls from world leaders are not a part of it. Also, President Donald Trump’s tweet game is a little shaky these days, complete with really bad typos that turn into memes. Tuesday night, he dropped the word “covfefe” on the world, which makes me laugh more than it should, probably.
My aunt is a Jehovah’s Witness. She has been my whole life. It’s the kind of thing that really creates awkward social moments on every level, if you don’t know. I went to a function of theirs once, when I was like 12, and it was beyond memorable. In France, no less. I did not join the faith. My point is, if you’ve interacted with any Witnesses beyond a discussion on your doorstep, you realize that it’s a fascinating existence. They don’t celebrate birthdays, for one. That said, here are 10 questions you always wanted to ask them.
‘Catfish’ is a weird word these days. The meaning of it changed drastically once MTV got involved, but when it comes to Nashville, Tennessee, it’s different. They have a hockey team there, and as their way of paying homage to hockey’s culture, they throw catfish on the ice every now and again. In Detroit, aka Hockeytown, they throw squid on the ice. It’s a dope remix for a town that’s still cementing its legacy. And in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, a Predators fan threw a catfish on the ice in Pittsburgh. He was being charged, but they dropped them. Hero.
I’m officially obsessed with the Ball family. I’m not quite a stan, but I’m certainly ready to be there when this team succeeds. Whether that happens soon or not, we’ll see. Perhaps my dream of them becoming one with the Kardashians will come to fruition. Until then, we just have to watch them play basketball. And when it comes to Lonzo, he’s apparently got a one-track mind for the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s working out for them, and a date is set: June 7. Alert the media — this is as important a sporting event in Los Angeles as there’s been in years.
Coffee Break: You know what’s a luxury in my life? Going out to lunch. Not to mention that I have a bit of cultural stigma that comes with it after years of being told that I was “out to lunch” on many ideas. That said, it’s just not something that our generation does that much anymore, which is a real shame.
Snack Time: Here’s what you should never ever do if you are not black: use the N-word. And if you’re out here trying to run for office, if you do use it, do not defend said usage. That’s foul.
Dessert: If you’re a journalism nerd, this will be important to you.
The Morning Roast: 5/28/17
Memorial Day shenanigans and ‘The Bachelorette’
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The gang got back together this weekend, and it was an extremely lively time.
We’re all basically in the camp of believing that LeBron James is on top when it comes to the greatest players in NBA history. While people want to yell and scream about how Michael Jordan is impossible to top, you won’t find that opinion here. Also, I’m the only one who thinks that the Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance against the Golden State Warriors. Amin Elhassan joined us to point out exactly why anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.
Also, I broke down what I think are the best cookout foods for Memorial Day. Pro tip: If you ever want to be the star of any function where food is a central element, just bring fried chicken. Also, Domonique Foxworth seems to believe that hamburgers are an absolute must for all family gatherings.
Lastly, we talk Bachelorette, which is basically the best part of every show at this point. Yay, sports talk radio!
‘The Bachelorette’ gets down to business
and one thing is obvious: Dudes are trash
4:54 PMAfter a slightly bizarre first episode of The Bachelorette, the country sat down after dealing with their families to watch a bunch of dudes fight over a woman on national television. Nothing says America like a trashy dating show, and this week did not disappoint. We finally got down to the business of who these guys can really be.
The answer was simple: not much.
What’s clear from this season of the program is that the field of people who are willing/able to be a part of this show is dwindling rapidly and the show is suffering as a result. This week, we got to meet all the contestants in a different way. Now, when it comes to dating on television, there are a couple of ground rules. You’re either there to be on television or maybe to find someone you like and get a bunch of free dates out of it. Monday proved that when you go too far either way, problems ensue.
We started things in a fun, flirty, even if somewhat stupid manner. At a group date cookout, the guys were put through the ringer of “Husband Material” challenge. Change a diaper, put on a Babybjorn, vacuum. Clear a drain, set a table, race with a bouquet of flowers. Pretty simple. With a twist. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis were there.
— Bachelorette Rose (@RealityRose_) May 30, 2017
Newsflash: Bringing on an adorable couple to cheer on a Bachelorette looking for love, never mind a famous adorable couple who also ONCE PLAYED AN ADORABLE COUPLE ON TELEVISION THEMSELVES, is just a horrible idea. I spent the whole time thinking how great it would have been to watch a Bachelor/ette season with one of them being the target and another being the host. Everyone involved instantly looked like a huge loser.
Of course, to that point, Lucas, aka Whaboom, won the challenge, showing a surprising amount of gumption in his victory. Then it all came crashing down, sort of. You might remember Blake, the drummer wannabe who spent a lot of time talking about his member during his intro interview in the first episode. He dropped a bombshell by letting the audience know that not only did he strongly hate Lucas, but he also actually knew him in real life.
So, Blake is a 31yo "aspiring drummer" with a female roommate? Please, keep talking… #TheBachelorette
— Meghan McKeown (@megg521) May 30, 2017
BLAKE YOURE AN ASPIRING DRUMMER TALKING ABOUT HOW YOU HAVE STABILITY TO BE A HUSBAND #TheBachelorette
— Hannah Kate (@hannahkate120) May 30, 2017
Mind you, this is where things have moved a little too far into the “this is real life” zone. Part of the fun of the program is suspending disbelief just enough to the point that you want to believe people sort of have their lives together enough to be there without having to *really* worry about what’s back home. But nope, Blake busted through that fantastical fourth wall, pointing out that he lives with Whaboom’s ex-girlfriend (sidebar: OK, that’s a little weird) and that his “act” is something he’s been on for a couple of years. As if he thought he was revealing deep dark government secrets, he boldly declares, “I know the real Lucas. Lucas is garbage. Rachel is looking a husband and Lucas is not here to find a wife. Lucas is here to be on television. The one person who could ruin this for him, is me, and I’m going to.”
You don’t say, old buddy. Most of us don’t actually have a problem with this. Some of us love it. Others among us might have immediately gone to his website and bought a tank top with his dumb catchphrase on it. And by “others among us,” I mean me, and by “might have,” I mean “definitely did.” It’s one thing to beef with a guy because you crossed paths with him in the house on some macho nonsense. It’s quite another to know that some low-rent ACTUAL soap opera between a couple of random Los Angeles losers is going down at home that we’ve all got to get dragged into. We don’t need to paint this far off the canvas.
"If I never hear Whaaaaboooom again, life will be amazing.”
— The Bachelorette (@BacheloretteABC) May 30, 2017
After that all calms down, we get to see Rachel’s first one-on-one date. It’s with Peter, who in all of his gap-toothed glory appears to be a relatively likable person. One problem, he is once again upstaged. His date turns into a dog date, in which Rachel’s Copper, with his wounded leg, is the star of the show. They go to something called Barkfest, which genuinely appeared to be one of the most fun outings ever. But again, with her and her dog traipsing around and having fun, Peter appears to be completely superfluous, although nonproblematic. The dog should have its own show, obviously.
Copper The Very Good Dog is the best thing ever to happen to The Bachelorette pic.twitter.com/sXHe1v0Y2k
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) May 30, 2017
The second hour is where things went full haywire, making even a shameless trash television watcher like myself feel a tad slimy. After a rather informative basketball session with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes, the NBA legend), real life collided with television in a way that did not help the show. DeMario, the suspected Kappa who made a lot of wild claims in the first episode, as it turns out is a fraud. Not in the sense that he’s lying about his job or station in life, but he’s basically got a girlfriend whom he ditched to be on the show.
Said woman confronted Rachel, text message receipts and all, detailing how he ghosted her to show up on television a few days later. She seemed rather happy about blowing things up, which she should have been. But it was a shame all this had to come at Rachel’s expense. She summarily dismissed him with an all-time classic line: “I’m really gonna need you to get the f— out.”
— 𝕂𝕠𝕗𝕚𝕖 (@KofieYeboah) May 30, 2017
— Emily Longeretta (@emilylongeretta) May 30, 2017
At this point, the dudes in the house get wind of DeMario’s shenanigans and the moral high-grounders step to the plate. It’s not the first time that someone’s ditched a maybe non-ex to take a chance at love on television, and it won’t be the last. Josiah, the lawyer, then proceeds to tell Rachel about how deeply offended he is that DeMario would try such a thing. Not for nothing, but dude, you’re trying to date on TV. The space is not sacrosanct, although yes, DeMario is a jerk for treating two women that way.
But once again, we were dragged into someone’s off-camera life in a way that only embarrasses everyone involved. To further double down on matters, DeMario pulls an all-time stupid move and shows back up to the mansion during the cocktail hour, looking to perhaps apologize to Rachel. She shows up out of curiosity, and the crowd of other guys still in the race gather around to watch the fireworks. The episode ends before we see the denouement, yada yada, cliffhanger.
Which points us back to the original point: We need more Rachel. For as much as we need to drive plot and fill airtime, that’s the whole point of having a Bachelorette whom people actually like. At this point, she’s become more of a prop than usual even for this show, which is saying a lot. Particularly because none of these guys has any remote standout qualities from a star or companion standpoint.
Next week, we’ll presumably get to watch some dude grovel for forgiveness and likely end up in a physical confrontation with a guy looking to show his loyalty to Rachel. It’ll be hilarious television, and we’ll likely all love it. But let’s not forget why we’re all here to begin with. More of Rachel makes the show better, and it’s time to get back to that.
It’s not all good, Tiger Woods
He says alcohol is not a factor
3:36 PMIt hadn’t occurred to me until Monday that Tiger Woods had never put me in a bad mood. I wasn’t the biggest fan in the world, nor did he ever motivate me to pick up a golf club. But once he stopped playing with any regularity and dominating the PGA Tour, I stopped caring. When his life and public image blew up before our very eyes in 2009 and subsequently, sure, it was a tad embarrassing, but I didn’t think any less of him.
Now, the acute feeling of disappointment is impossible to ignore.
For some, Woods eternally turned in his invitation to the cookout when he decided to declare that he was not black but “Cablanasian,” a melange of races whose name he invented himself and for which he was roundly mocked from there on out. It represented something more than just an attempt at an inclusive racial mindset. It felt like a snub to the black community, which had ridden so hard for him over the years and claimed him as one of their own.
Caller, on Tiger Woods: "He shouldn't be unhappy – he's rich." Utterly sickening listening to someone so out of touch with real life.
— talkSPORTDrive (@talkSPORTDrive) May 30, 2017
I sympathise with Tiger Woods and hope he gets the support he needs.
— Daniel Reynolds (@Dan_Reynolds_) May 30, 2017
Now that he’s been arrested on suspicion of DUI and his mug shot is all over television and the internet, the police have listed his race as “black,” which has folks cracking jokes everywhere. Few people feel bad for him. You might recall the story The Secret History of Tiger Woods by Wright Thompson. We learned all sorts of things about him, for example, that he kicks it with Navy SEALs and believes in the paranormal.
This is different, though. So basic, so rudimentary, so tacky that it feels like he’s learned nothing, at the very least, about understanding public opinion. He was quick to point out that alcohol was not a factor, which struck me as a particularly odd distinction, considering. We’re talking about a guy whose mistress admitted that he regularly took Ambien as a way not to get better sleep but to add some variety to his life in the bedroom. While it’s not classified as a narcotic by the government, people have been known to do some wild things while taking the drug for its intended purpose.
Mind you, prescription drug abuse is killing people left and right all over this country, at a rate that we haven’t seen before. As far as concern for Woods’ well-being goes, alcohol not being a factor does not necessarily make anything better.
I hope Tiger Woods fully recovers and breaks every golf record known to man. Or at least wins 1 more major.
— David Downey Jr. (@DavidDowneyJr) May 30, 2017
“I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again,” Woods said. What that means, who knows. But at this point for Woods, you have to wonder who his support system is. Who he trusts. Who he doesn’t. From the sounds of it, perhaps he doesn’t even trust himself.
If Woods ever wins another major, I’ll be flat-out shocked. And while this incident will ultimately not be something that we necessarily remember him for, it’s certainly one you mark down as a potential indicator of where it all went wrong.
Daily Dose: 5/30/17
The man who killed Tamir Rice loses his job
1:25 PMWhile y’all were enjoying your holiday weekend, your boy was working. May 26, I filled in for Bomani Jones. Sunday, The Morning Roast was in full swing. And Monday, Aaron Dodson joined me for The Dan Le Batard Show.
If the White House were the Titanic, the lifeboats would all be long gone by now. I’ve never seen that movie, btw, but from what I understand, the band played on while the boat crashed and all the old white guys swindled everyone else out of a chance to save their lives. Now, President Donald Trump’s communications director is bailing out, a guy named Mike Dubke. Mind you, last week the administration made clear that they’re basically operating for the sole purpose of preventing Trump from getting bored. Also, there’s this. Yikes.
When Tamir Rice was killed in Cleveland, it was tragic. A 12-year-old boy playing with a toy gun was looked at as a violent criminal, and police pulled up and shot him so quickly that you could barely blink before it happened. He died the next day. In an unfortunately not shocking development, the officers involved were not even so much as indicted by a grand jury, but the city did settle with the victim’s family for $6 million. Mind you, this was three years ago. The officer who actually shot Rice was finally fired. But it wasn’t for the shooting.
Commitments in the workplace are a tricky wicket. Meaning, if it’s a known fact that you aren’t married or are childless in a newsroom, the expectations on your time and energy are drastically different from those who might be otherwise involved. Basically, the assumption is that because you don’t specifically have a spouse or a kid to tend to, then you should otherwise be devoting every waking hour of your life to work and thus pick up the slack for others who aren’t so “free.” Well, guess what? They’re fighting back with hot-take think pieces.
There are good players and there are famous players. Typically, the two overlap each other, but sometimes that’s not remotely the case. Tim Tebow comes to mind in this discussion. The question of how each athlete gains notoriety and the metrics for how fame is achieved are interesting things to study. What if your endorsement game is more prevalent than the TV exposure for your sport? Or vice versa? Which one counts more? Check out ESPN’s ranking of the Top 100 most famous players in the world.
Coffee Break: When it comes to all these legacy biopics, you’re forced to ask yourself, do I *really* care about this group or artist? Well, if I were to mention the name Salt-N-Pepa, I think the answer would be yes. Now they’re saying that Ava DuVernay might be the one to direct their story.
Snack Time: You think you’ve got it bad in your marriage? There are places in the world where spouses are quite literally slaves, which is terrifying. It’s happening regularly in Hong Kong. This story is worth your time.
Dessert: It looks like Melo and Lala might not be fully broken up. I really hope they stay together.