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

Daily Dose: 6/15/16

More details trickle in about Orlando shooting tragedy

9:09 AMIt feels good to be back. Italy was fun, but we can get to that part later. It’s time to work. Check out my interview with former Los Angeles police officer Ron Shipp and director Ezra Edelman about the 30 for 30 O.J.: Made In America. Don’t forget, Part 3 is Wednesday night on ESPN at 9 p.m.

Being overseas during a mass shooting in the United States is a bizarre experience. As an American, we are often immediately identifiable before any words come out of your mouth, and once they do, people want to ask you about two things: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and guns. In the case of the Orlando mass shooting, many foreigners were completely perplexed and I had one answer — this nation values bullets more than lives. That aside, the latest update in the case is the wife of Omar Marteen, the man who shot and killed 49 people at nightclub, is now being investigated about what she might have known regarding his intentions on that horrific night in Central Florida.

Speaking of guns, South Africa is not far behind the U.S. In that nation, the regard for property protection far outweighs everything, because there was a time when it was literally the law for the minority white nation to suppress and abuse the black people who surrounded them. Their culture of violence overall puts ours to shame, to some degree. Point being, for as bad as Oscar Pistorius — an Afrikaner — might feel about shooting and killing his girlfriend, it’s entirely possible he might not feel he genuinely did anything wrong. With sentencing coming up in his case, he entered the courtroom Wednesday on his stumps, not his blades. ABC News has the details.

Reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton is a full-blown superstar in every sense. Incredible football player, media darling and truly talented guy in many respects. We’ve often seen him singing and, well, dancing, even though he recently retired the dab (thank God.) Anyway, the Panthers quarterback made an appearance on a Charlotte morning show and got his karaoke on. He got stuck with Usher’s Nice & Slow, which is an extremely difficult song to nail, particularly with a live audience listening. Power 98 not only managed to get him to sing it, but he did it pretty well, reminding us all that when it comes to the ‘oke, it’s about feeling, not your voice. ESPNW’s Tory Barron reports on the fun.

I love Nate Robinson. My man has been 10 pounds of muscle and hustle in a 5-pound bag for his entire career. Now, the former NBA player is trying to make the Seattle Seahawks as a defensive back. The thought isn’t that outlandish. He played for the University of Washington in college after initially getting there on a football scholarship. He switched his focused to hoops, and later — at 5-foot-9 — ended up as the only three-time NBA dunk contest champion, as dubious as that title may be. But, as a 32-year-old man, breaking into the NFL is not an easy task. ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia asked head coach Pete Carroll about his chances.

Free Food

Coffee Break: There’s a thing people are doing now in order to calm themselves down and relax (or sleep at night) that might remind you of when you were a child. It’s called AMSR, and it’s wildly popular. Folks are just listening to a woman whispering in a light voice and doing random things like rubbing brush bristles in a 3-D mic. Wow, fam.

Snack Time: My friends tend to give me a lot of flak because I genuinely enjoy Wiz Khalifa as an artist and always have, but my man is doing more than just making mega-hits and getting into spats with Kanye West. He’s a legit style icon.

Dessert: Johnson Publishing sold Ebony and Jet magazines. This is flat-out, terrible news. End of many eras.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel

receives support from Kappa Alpha Psi after Donald Trump’s negative comments

12:10 PMCertain words come with consequences, which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has had to learn the hard way in the past year. During a campaign rally in late May, Trump attacked U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the civil-fraud, class-action lawsuit against him.

Curiel is an American who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants who were naturalized citizens — not, as Trump said to the crowd while criticizing the lawsuits — “happens to be Mexican.”

Curiel is a member of the fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., and in recent days, one of the consequences of the negative comments has been nationwide criticism from Curiel’s fraternity brothers. Members of Kappa Alpha Psi, a predominantly black fraternity, have taken to social media, using the hashtags #Nupes4Curiel and #NupesAgainstTrump, to express support for the judge.

Besides tweets, fraternity members have also launched a petition on Change.org, titled “Men of Kappa Stand In Solidarity with Judge Gonzalo Curiel.” The petition does not call for any member to avoid voting for Trump, but rather provides information about Curiel’s identity as a Hispanic man who also identifies with black culture — the information Trump made no attempt to consider.

While the petition, which was started by the Montclair, New Jersey, alumni chapter, is not affiliated with Kappa Alpha Psi’s national organization, the fraternity’s national president, grand polemarch Thomas L. Battles Jr., released a statement of support on the fraternity’s website.

“Kappa Alpha Psi stands firmly against the practice of judging a man solely by his race, creed, or national origin,” Battles wrote. “We believe all Americans are entitled to the freedoms afforded by the Constitution without regards to race. Our fraternity will continue to oppose all forms of racism and rebuke those who promote this evil.”

Daily Dose: 6/13/16

The United States witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in history this past weekend

11:00 AMOur thoughts, condolences and prayers this morning go out to the families and friends of the victims in Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The tragedy exposes — again — the horrific reality of gun culture and gun violence in this country. Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Century 16 movie theater, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. How many more mass shootings can this country endure before definitive action is taken to get the guns away from violent and mentally unstable people and those bent on terrorism?

The tragedy in Orlando was much more than a shooting. It was an act of terrorism, connected to the Islamic State group. It was also a hate crime committed against the LGBT community, which celebrates its pride month in June. An armed man was arrested, just hours after the killings at Pulse, reportedly heading to a gay pride parade in West Hollywood, California. Though there is no evidence of a connection between the two events, it is apparent that this month of celebration has unfortunately given people a platform to commit violence. The Associated Press’ Christopher Weber and Andrew Dalton have the details.

Certain details surrounding the Orlando shooting are heartbreaking. If you’ve followed the situation in the last day or so, you’ve probably read a lot of information about the gunman, Omar Mateen. But what about the victims? The mother of Eddie Justice, one of the 49 people killed at Pulse, has released a text message conversation between her and her son from the moments leading up to his death. If you haven’t read it yet, brace yourself. ABC News’ Morgan Winsor has the report.

U.S. terrorist attacks have increasingly involved the use of guns. The effect Sept. 11, 2001, has had on our nation extends much further than increased security at airports. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, which until last weekend were the deadliest our country has seen, completely changed the makeup of terrorism in the United States. While it might seem like explosives are a common method of violence, that hasn’t been the case since 9/11, given the fact that federal authorities track their use. Guns are now what terrorists in the United States are turning to. FiveThirtyEight’s Carl Bialik breaks down the numbers.

The sports world reacted to the Orlando mass shooting. Professional athletes are often looked up to as heroes — their voices are as powerful as anyone’s. Taking this into account, it’s always interesting to see how they react when a major world event, specifically a tragedy, occurs. Many U.S. athletes, some of who are openly a part of the LGBT community, responded through social media. ESPN compiled some of the best reactions.

Free food

Coffee Break: Remember Rachel Dolezal? The white woman who was a civil rights activist, African-American studies professor and NAACP chapter president though she lied about her racial identity? Well, she’s back in the news, apparently now filming a documentary at Howard University. Random, right?

Snack Time: When a draft is 40 rounds, it’s hard not to waste a pick or two. That’s exactly what the Seattle Mariners did in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft when they selected Trey Griffey, the son of 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Ken Griffey Jr., in the 24th round. The funny thing is, this pick was simply to pay tribute to Trey Griffey’s father, a former Mariner great. Trey Griffey is a college football player and hasn’t played baseball since he was 11. Don’t think he’ll be signing an MLB contract anytime soon.

Dessert: Artist Fred Martins used the symbol of an Afro comb to commemorate activists, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, who were imprisoned while fighting for freedom and racial justice.

Daily Dose: 6/10/16

Follow along with us in remembering the champ

8:06 AMToday, we remember the life of The Greatest. The late Muhammad Ali will be celebrated at an interfaith memorial service Friday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands are expected to attend the service, which begins at 2 p.m.

Thousands are also expected to pay their respects during a processional this morning that will pass landmarks in Ali’s life, including the gym where he began training and his childhood neighborhood.

Follow our live coverage of the day’s events here. Be sure to check out all of the coverage we’ve produced so far this week to celebrate the life of the champ.

We will also be collecting thoughts from readers on Ali throughout the day.

Clinton and Trump Twitter beef?

We’re here for it

4:38 PMAfter President Barack Obama endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Thursday, Clinton’s opponent, Republican candidate Donald Trump, couldn’t hold his tongue.

Minutes later, Clinton responded.

Maybe rapper Drake was right when he said, “Trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers” in his 2015 diss record Back to Back. Based on the language, there’s little doubt surrounding whether Trump’s words were a result of his own Twitter fingers. He’s never shy to speak his mind and even has a history of getting into Twitter tiffs with people, including rapper Mac Miller.

As for whether Clinton tweeted the response for herself, there’s no telling. The accounts of many politicians are run by their staffs, so someone else could have typed the response (maybe even an intern), after she approved it, of course. Regardless, Thursday’s brief social media back-and-forth was amusing for the simple fact that we rarely see presidential candidates go at it outside of debates.

The best part of the beef was not Clinton’s “Delete your account” response, which received more than 100,000 more retweets (and counting) than Trump’s tweet. The best part was that Clinton herself went back-to-back on Trump, tweeting this not long afterward:

Shade? Maybe a little.

Black Twitter claps back

to three white eulogists speaking at Muhammad Ali’s memorial service

4:00 PMAs the world continues to mourn the death of Muhammad Ali, some have taken to Twitter to express disappointment in the makeup of Ali’s interfaith memorial service at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday.

Former president Bill Clinton, actor Billy Crystal, Sen. Orrin Hatch and sportscaster Bryant Gumbel are all scheduled to deliver eulogies at the service.

Though Ali himself chose who would speak, push back on social media has surrounded the fact that three white men and only one black man will speak at the service, which will memorialize to the public one of the most influential African-American figures in the history of this country.

Is it really fair to criticize the men Ali wanted to pay tribute to him based upon their race? This way of thinking seems to arise from as limited view of the man Ali was. We should remember Ali not only as the outspoken man who used sports as a platform to speak out about racism, but also for his accepting nature. He acknowledged that “not all white people are racist.”

Muhammad Ali

set to cover the next issue of ESPN The Magazine, available June 17

3:20 PMYou’ll want to pick up one of these.

The late Muhammad Ali will cover ESPN The Magazine‘s June 27 issue, which will officially hit newsstands June 17. The cover is beautiful, featuring a black-and-white photo of the champ and one of his most famous quotes, “I shook up the world!” which he said, among many other quotable things, after knocking out Sonny Liston in 1964 at the age of 22.

There’s no official total, but Ali might have covered more magazines than any athlete in history. From Boxing Illustrated to Time, GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Jet and more, the number of magazine covers Ali appeared on (many of which he did so on several different occasions) is yet another reason that he is The Greatest.

Daily Dose: 6/9/16

The trial of another officer in the Freddie Gray case has started

11:00 AMThe NBA Finals series has been less than exciting. Blowout after blowout — a 15-point spread in Game 1, a 33-point spread in Game 2 and a 30-point spread in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Obviously, with the win Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers have made things somewhat interesting by avoiding a sweep. The series now stands 2-1 in the Golden State Warriors’ favor. But please, can we get at least one close game?

The third trial in the Freddie Gray case has begun. Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson, one of six officers involved in the April 2015 arrest of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a spinal cord injury in a police vehicle, now stands trial. Goodson is the third officer to be tried, following trials of officers William Porter and Edward Nero. prosecutors have been unable to convict any of the officers — not even Nero, who initially arrested Gray. While this case has been a vital part of the Black Lives Matter movement and the stand against police brutality involving white police officers, it’s worth remembering that not all of officers in the Gray case are white. Goodson is black. ABC News’ Mariam Khan has the report.

Support for Brock Turner is wavering. Two female character witnesses for Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer who was convicted of rape and sentenced to just six months in jail, are now expressing regret for their support of him. Turner’s case has been in the news all week, from the long-awaited release of his mug shot to the shocking comments from his father, who said Turner shouldn’t suffer a six-month sentence for “20 minutes of action.” Brian McBride of ABC News has the latest development in the case.

Aaron Hernandez has hired a high-profile defense attorney. The former New England Patriots tight end, convicted in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd and subsequently sentenced to life in prison, has brought in attorney Jose Baez on to his defense team. Baez represented Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of murder following the death of her 2-year-old daughter, and other celebrities such as NBA player Thabo Sefolosha. Baez will also defend Hernandez, who still faces murder charges in a 2012 incident at a nightclub, where two men were gunned down. ESPN provides the details on Hernandez’s latest addition to his defense team.

The X Games are all about the jumps. I’m not big into skateboarding and BMX. I do, however, appreciate the things the athletes in those sports are able to do. From an outsider’s perspective, and maybe even for avid skateboarding and BMX followers, the best part is the CRAZY jumps the athletes take on. It’s hard to even imagine daring some of the ramps they ride on. I’ve never been to the X Games or up close and personal to a large ramp. Now, I feel like I have. FiveThirtyEight’s Brent Rose provides a close look to the biggest jumps at this year’s X Games.

Free food

Coffee Break: Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban filed for eight trademark applications surrounding nicknames and phrases connected to him and his brand. On Thursday, the trademarks were allowed, though not yet registered. You definitely have to respect this man’s hustle.

Snack Time: In honor of the late Muhammad Ali, Sony Pictures announced the 2001 film Ali, which stars actor Will Smith as the champ, will return to theaters this weekend. Smith will also be a pallbearer at Ali’s funeral.

Dessert: Am I the only one who is sick of these random “holidays” that pop up on social media every day? Wednesday was #NationalBestFriendsDay. Today is apparently #ThankfulThursday. When will it stop?