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

The NFL’s new security chief

comes straight from the nation’s capital

5:02 PMCathy Lanier will be the NFL’s new vice president of security, the league announced Tuesday, ending a months-long search that began when Jeff Miller stepped down from the job in May. Lanier, 49, has been the police chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, D.C., since 2007. Not that it should matter but her background as an officer, who rose from the rank of beat cop to lead one of the higher-profile forces in the country, is not one we’d expect to see in a leadership role in the NFL.

She was at the helm of a department that dealt with the local legalization of marijuana and actively pursued the use of body cameras for its officers when the issue was still raw after Ferguson, Missouri. There are various arguments about whether her tenure was successful locally, but as a mom who also once sued MPD for sexual harassment and won, this is about as progressive a hire as possible.

“We are excited to welcome to our team an individual of Cathy’s talent and extensive record of accomplishments,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday. “Cathy joins us with a well-deserved reputation of being a tremendous communicator, innovator and relationship builder.”


“This executive will also be the primary supervisor of investigative programs, as well as oversee event security (including the Super Bowl and international games), game integrity programs and department administration,” the NFL job description read at the time of its posting. “He/she will take the lead in assessing security issues within the league and assigning and/or identifying the correct resources as they arise.”

Which leads to an obvious question: Does Lanier plan to make the game-day experience safer? During her time in D.C., she added a more personal communicative touch to police work in neighborhoods used to viewing the cops as enemies. She routinely noted that more communication between law enforcement and residents made things safer, not less. Lanier loudly rejected zero-tolerance policing for minor offenses, as well.

All that to say, for casual fans of the NFL, the No. 1 criticism in the past 10 years about the league has been the stadium experience from a cost and a security standpoint. A light Googling in the days after an NFL weekend will net you at least a half-dozen videos of fights in the parking lot, in the stands and even in the bathrooms. Personally, it’s the reason why I stopped going to games a long time ago.

Goodell’s reputation hasn’t been great recently. When it comes to how he’s dealt with players and their suspensions — even before Deflategate bored us all to tears — he had work to do on his legacy. Recently, the league’s handling of what is eventually going to be a very difficult talk about what to do about the long-term effects of concussions hasn’t exactly inspired confidence, either.

But for the people still willing to pay outrageous parking prices for the pleasure of being able to swill beer in a stadium with 75,000 of their closest friends, Lanier is the closest thing you can get to an ally.

‘The Nightly Show’ is no more

Comedy Central cancels Larry Wilmore’s show

1:05 PMThe man who called President Barack Obama “my n—-” in front of the world has lost one of his gigs. On Monday, Comedy Central announced that The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore will end Thursday, Variety reports. The show was originally billed as a replacement for The Colbert Report after host Stephen Colbert went to CBS to replace David Letterman. The Nightly Show never really caught the wave it wanted from an audience standpoint. It launched Jan. 19, 2015.

It didn’t help that Wilmore’s show was created and then almost immediately overshadowed by the departure of The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart. Presumably, the idea there was to create a line between viewers of The Daily Show and those of The Nightly Show, but that bond never really solidified for the former “senior black correspondent.” Not to mention the huge splash created when South African Trevor Noah came on as host of The Daily Show. Anyway, as a viewer, it never really felt like Wilmore’s show was a major priority for the network.

“I’m really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and our fans to have had this opportunity. But I’m also saddened and surprised we won’t be covering this crazy election or ‘The Unblackening’ as we’ve coined it. And keeping it 100, I guess I hadn’t counted on ‘The Unblackening’ happening to my time slot as well,” Wilmore said in a statement.

Perhaps most disappointing is the loss of another black host and presence in a writer’s room with an upcoming national election. Last week, NBC announced that Jay Pharoah, who does the best Obama impersonation in the history of the world, would be leaving Saturday Night Live.

That said, Wilmore always has a million things going anyway, so it’s not like the writing and comedy veteran is just going to disappear. You can bet that when Issa Rae’s new HBO show Insecure launches — which he was a part of creating — your man Wilmore will be back at it again with the jokes that make white folks squirm.

Daily Dose: 8/15/16

Another fatal shooting of a black man, more unrest, this time in Milwaukee

10:46 AMSunday night at the Olympics, NBC’s Bob Costas intonated that Usain Bolt might be a more famous Jamaican than Bob Marley. Let’s be clear, that will never ever be the case, plain and simple.

Milwaukee has been burning all weekend. After a fatal police-involved shooting, the Wisconsin city has been the latest American ground zero for unrest due to what some communities feel is overly violent behavior. The protests have been particularly violent, with reports of demonstrators throwing things and setting businesses on fire. This is the part where you can expect national reporters to descend on Milwaukee, where we’ll learn a lot more about what goes down in the Badger state. ABC News reports.

In other disastrous news, Louisiana is basically underwater. They’ve gotten an insane amount of rain recently and the number of people and businesses who’ve been affected is in the tens of thousands at this point. Some of the images coming out of the region are downright breathtaking, including videos of people saving not only their neighbors, but pets, too. Watching people come together in situations like this is really the only potentially gratifying part of such an awful story. ABC News has the latest.

At this point, we’re pretty much assuming that Donald Trump will get blown out. People are jumping ship from the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign by the droves, pulling guns out on each other, and meanwhile he’s scrambling and complaining about The New York Times every day. The question is: What would that landslide victory actually look like from a voting populace standpoint? We don’t really see that many crushing defeats in national elections anymore, but FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver analyzes how that might go.

On Sunday, aside from Usain Bolt blowing everyone away, again, there was a better story. Wayde van Niekerk, a South African sprinter, dusted American Michael Johnson’s nearly two-decades-old record in the 400 meters, sort of shocking the world. Not just because of the world-record time, but also because he did it from the eighth lane, which is borderline unheard of. He surprised the announcers, his competition and the audience. But two people he didn’t surprise were his coach and his roommate. ESPN has the story.

Free Food

Coffee Break: What’s LeBron James doing during the Olympics? He’s certainly not just sitting around cheering on his pals. Rapper Drake brought him out at a concert in Ohio recently, which, if you ask us, is exactly how that man should be spending his summer break.

Snack Time: Animals playing with cameras is always funny, and this clip of a squirrel getting hold of a GoPro is fantastic. Seriously, watch it. Unless you get vertigo. Then, don’t watch it.

Dessert: ICYMI, our latest edition of Locker Room Lawyer.

Let’s go to Rio

and check out some murals, aside from the Olympics

7:00 AM

The street art in Brazil is an interesting beast. Long a more character-driven type of style, the nation that’s hosting the Summer Olympics has long been a major player on the scene. So, while you’re watching records being broken in Rio de Janeiro, take some time to look at what people are doing in the streets.

This video comes to us via Luci Westphal, who makes one-minute videos of all types that feature places around the world. Anyway, make sure to check out the abstract style of Brazil’s scene, which we’ve always been a huge fan of. Some people call it the “New York of South America,” which I think is rather pointless, comparison-wise, but if you want a deeper look into what they do down there, check it out here.

Board on Saturday

Logic is a better skater than YG

and he has the video to prove it

7:00 AMWhen you’re on tour in the summertime, there’s a lot of time to kill. Traveling, setup, soundchecks, etc., which all means that if you’ve got nothing else to do, you’re going to resort to the basics to have fun. Some people play hoops, others make music, but some like to skateboard.

California native rapper YG and Maryland native rapper Logic got together for a session on the Endless Summer tour, and let’s just say that one of them got completely dominated. To be fair, YG can definitely skate, but he wasn’t ready for what Logic had for him.

Locker Room Lawyer

Locker Room Lawyer, Episode 4: Deon Long

The NFL wide receiver got cut during training camp for having a woman in his room, giving The Undefeated its latest case

3:12 PMIn Friday’s edition of Locker Room Lawyer, Clinton Yates and Domonique Foxworth take the case of Los Angeles Rams Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Deon Long to The Undefeated courtroom.

On Tuesday’s season premiere of HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams, everyone (well, those who have HBO) saw the wide receiver get cut from the Rams by head coach Jeff Fisher for committing a violation of team rules: having a woman in his dorm room at training camp.

Long is a second-year player out of the University of Maryland. Domonique also attended Maryland before he was drafted to the NFL in 2005. So Deon, that means representation from the Locker Room Lawyer FOR FREE *Drake voice*.

Check out the video, and if you have any professional athlete in mind (past or present) who needs the Locker Room Lawyer’s representation, feel free to email us at allday@andscape.com with episode ideas. Also, check out our weekly All Day Podcast.

Daily Dose: 8/12/16

‘Rogue One’ gives us our Darth Vader fix

2:00 PMI went all the way to Philadelphia and back Thursday night to see the homey DJ Trayze at the Red Bull Thre3style USA DJ Championships. I got back at 5 a.m., but whatever: He won. Good times in Pennsylvania.

THERE’S A NEW STAR WARS TRAILER OUT. I scream that because I care deeply about said series, always have, always will, idc idc. The first Rogue One teaser was just an indication of what we might actually be in for. The second one, released Thursday night, actually has some storyline to it beyond the initial concept. Also, there is an absolutely great hyperdrive hit that I cannot wait to see on the big screen. Just, here, take my money.

Back when my dad lived in South Africa, I’d be there with him when I could. I worked in Pretoria and one of the things that was always interesting to me was how people interacted on a public, romantic level. Grown men who were friends would hold hands walking down the street as an indicator of their love, but actual gay people were routinely targeted for hate crimes. Messed up. VICE‘s latest issue takes a look at South Africa’s lesbian community. (NSFW, sorta)

Donald Trump is flailing desperately. Which means that Hillary Clinton, provided nothing completely catastrophic goes down, has the clearest path to the presidency at this point. We’ve talked about polls here before, and how they can be so misleading, yet accurate — but let’s be serious. It’s all Hillary Rodham Clinton at this point. Once again, FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten breaks down how she could win this thing, even without Florida and Ohio.

LeBron James just did the Cleveland Cavaliers a favor. After bringing a championship to Cleveland for the first time in a lifetime, he signed a deal that at $100 million is beyond undervalue on so many levels. For the life of me, I cannot understand this. After all the crap that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and the fans in Cleveland gave him, he could have easily just said, ‘I’m not playing any basketball game in Quicken Loans Arena for less than a million bucks ever again.’ He’s better than me.

Free Food

Coffee Break: There are people in the world who believe that the movie Scarface is too good for a remake. First, the ’80s version already is a remake, so there’s that. Also, that character is basically a superhero, so redoing the flick makes complete sense.

Snack Time: You know by now that Simone Manuel made history Thursday night, but if you were watching on NBC it took you an hour to see her get the full glory. You can check it out here.

Dessert: NBA free agent Martell Webster has a new EP out. Check him out. Dude can rhyme.

Cam Newton came to Baltimore, and it wasn’t pretty

We’re gonna need a course correction, son!

11:27 AMOnly one thing could pull me away from watching Miss Simone Biles on Thursday night capture the gold medal in the women’s gymnastics individual all-around competition in Rio de Janeiro. That would be the appearance in these Twitter streets of a high-profile fashion crime. Thursday’s unfortunate victim: Cameron Jerrell Newton. As we have seen time and again, the Carolina Panthers quarterback often looks pretty damn amazing. But he’s also been known to make very questionable clothing decisions. Cam, would you please stop playing with my fashion writer emotions and focus?

Honestly, this particular outfit had me feeling concerned. Thursday night was the NFL preseason opener, and the Panthers traveled to hot-and-sweaty Charm City to match up against the Baltimore Ravens. Should have been an easy game for the Panthers, who are the NFC defending champions. Newton, lest we forget, is still the league’s legit reigning MVP. And yet, here he is coming off the team bus looking like he’s going to sleepaway theater camp in the Canadian Rockies. Newton has sworn off dabbing, and (we think) rapper/producer Pharrell has finally sworn off that hat, so let’s call it even. Wait. Dude, are those Capezios? When is tight Superman shirt-wearing Cam or tight Versace pants-wearing Cam going to make a triumphant return? Until that happens, we’ll just have to reminisce on this and this. Fashion prayers going up!

President Obama has that heat for the summer

His new mixtape is out for summer ’16

3:09 PM

President Barack Obama is back at it again with the fire mixtape. If you want one single thing that having a president of color in the office has done, it’s simply changed the basic cool factor of what does and does not work from the White House. Sure, certain presidents did things that were marginally impressive, but there are few things more fun than daytime/nighttime playlists.

Don’t get it twisted, there are some heat rocks on this. We’re willing to forgive him starting things off with Wale due to the fact that he’s got Gary Clark Jr. and Chance The Rapper on there too, not to mention Corinne Bailey Rae. This is his second year posting a playlist to Spotify, which is just another reminder of why America is going to miss this dude so much when he leaves office, politics aside.

We’d like to imagine that he bumps this in the Volvo SUV while his kids are in the back secretly listening to something completely different on their phones.

Locker Room Lawyer

Locker Room Lawyer, Episode 3: Josh Norman

The NFL cornerback’s recent decision to appear on Fox during the season gives The Undefeated its latest case

1:21 PMIn this week’s edition of Locker Room Lawyer, Clinton Yates and Domonique Foxworth take the case of Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman to The Undefeated courtroom.

Norman recently agreed to a deal with Fox to appear on the network’s pregame show during the season. Originally, it was believed that no team officials knew about the deal, though Norman has since squashed those rumors.

The cornerback’s defense of his decision? “It’s my off time. I can do whatever I choose,” he told ESPN’s Dianna Russini on Wednesday.

Domonique, a former NFL cornerback, takes on the role of Locker Room Lawyer and defends Norman.

The question is what verdict will the judge come to? (Yes, this week, there is a judge.)

Check out the video, and if you have any professional athlete in mind (past or present) who needs the Locker Room Lawyer’s representation, feel free to email us at allday@andscape.com with episode ideas. Also, check out our weekly All Day Podcast.

Daily Dose: 8/11/16

The Aussies gave the Americans some trouble in Brazil

11:03 AMWe lost a great one. John Saunders, ESPN broadcaster for the better part of three decades, passed away at the age of 61. He had just been at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) convention, speaking about his latest passion project. I’ll never forget the sound of his voice.

Do you know who founded ISIS? Donald Trump does. I’ll give you one wild guess as to who he thinks it is. Santa Claus? Ooh, ball one. Cookie Monster? Ball two, good guess. The tooth fairy? Strike one. Get a grip. Perhaps, could it be Harry, of Harry and the Hendersons? Ah, you missed. Strike two. Gotta protect the zone. Dan Quayle? Not bad. Ball three. Oh, right, of course. Trump is putting it out there that President Barack Hussein Obama is the “founder of ISIS.” OK, pleighboi. Keep thinking that’s going to make any sense at all.

There are two different levels of this game. One is called ping pong. The other is called table tennis. The third is called beer pong. How are they related? Well, they’re all played on the same table. Two of these games will help your table last forever. One will ruin it after one semester. (Just trust me on this.) Anyway, if you play table tennis, you can crush anyone that only plays ping pong. But the question is, can you play beer pong as a result? VICE decided to go play with a guy who’d gone to the Olympics twice, for table tennis. Tons of fun.

A couple of weeks ago, I played soccer. It had been a while since I got on the pitch, and your boy almost passed out in the sun. It was marginally embarrassing as I mentioned at the time, and it was humbling, because I was forced to play in the net so that the numbers on the field weren’t screwed up. News flash: playing goalkeeper/netminder, or whatever you want to call it, is not easy. FiveThirtyEight’s Allison McCann and Reuben Fischer-Baum take a look at who in the Olympics has the hardest time playing the position.

If you didn’t watch the U.S. men’s basketball team Wednesday night, you missed a great game. The Australians lost the game by 10 points and it wasn’t until about halfway through the fourth quarter that I legit believed that the Americans would win. The Aussies played a fantastic game, and didn’t necessarily ball out their minds, and gave Coach K’s squad a heck of a matchup. It wasn’t a complete disaster, but it was also a serious eye-opener for all of you expecting blowouts every night. ESPN’s Marc Stein was in the arena.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Houston is the most American city in America. Every single important thing that’s happened in this nation from a topic standpoint has been a local story there, first. Anyway, H-Town has a mosque for Latinos. Seriously, if you’ve never been to that city, take a trip down there. You’ll learn a lot.

Snack Time: I will never not be here for celebrity couples. Sorry, I just like them. And if I like both celebrities independent of one another? Even better. Now, A$AP Rocky and Kendall Jenner are together. HERE FOR IT.

Dessert: This is gross. And it makes me sad because it’s my favorite memorial.

‘The Simpsons’ to tackle hip-hop episode

We’re side-eyeing this one until further notice

9:20 AMWhen FOX announced earlier this week that The Simpsons will celebrate its 600th episode with its first hourlong show — one dedicated to a hip-hop homage, no less — many were excited. The most successful television cartoon of all-time was finally turning its lens on the rap world in a significant manner. Of course, multiple rappers have appeared as themselves in the 27-year history of the program. Ludacris, 50 Cent, Cypress Hill and Sir-Mix-A-Lot to name a few.

The question is: Do we trust the show to handle this?

That’s the problem with having a largely non-hip-hop presence for most of your existence. If you decide to go all-out, not everyone is necessarily going to believe that the joke won’t be completely on us, as in, the culture. “We haven’t done a huge amount of stories in the world of hip-hop and rap culture, so we just went for it,” executive producer Matt Selman told Entertainment Weekly. Let the side-eyeing begin.

The story is set at Mr. Burns’ mansion and the story revolves around a revenge tale, in two parts. According to EW, some side components include Lisa getting a rich boyfriend (likely Drake, if you ask us) and Marge opening a high-end boutique. Selman said, “It’s kind of like a two-part rap album.” Side groan, but OK. The episode is scheduled to air in January.

Of course, the Simpson family is yellow in color, but let’s be real. They are the normative, which means in America, they’re white. That aside, the show’s history with characters “of race” isn’t the greatest. Again, we’re talking about cartoons here, but for the purposes of this discussion it’s worth making the delineation. Think about the wild stereotype that is Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. You just can’t create a character like that anymore.

And while the show has a reasonably decent history with black folks, a show entirely about hip-hop is another matter. This might be a good time to note that the show’s most regular black characters are voiced by nonblack actors. First of all, “The Great Phatsby” as the episode’s title already sounds like something straight out of 1996. To add some credibility to the project, actress Taraji P. Henson of Empire and actor Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele will guest star, as well.

We want this to work. We need this to work, on some level. But throwing in a couple of celebrity voices and asking music producer Jim Beanz (of Empire) to drop some original tracks doesn’t mean that this is going to work. This could be legitimately great, and we hope so. We’d hate to see the show get dragged on its big anniversary.

Shouts to Carl Carlson, though.