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

This Jose Fernandez mural is sad, but dope

Giancarlo Stanton decided to get up for his late teammate in Brazil

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As an East Coast kid of the ’90s, graffiti murals to fallen heroes are basically a thing I’ve seen all my life. They’re always sad, but the cathartic nature of their creation and existence is obvious. This week, Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was in Brazil and painted a mural with some friends to honor his fallen teammate, Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident in September.

Fernandez was 24 years old.

Please let JaVale McGee make the Warriors

He’s legit one of the most entertaining players in the NBA

4:30 PMEver since JaVale McGee stepped in to the NBA in 2008, he’s been an up-and-down enigma who most people felt only really played basketball because he sort of had to. He was a lovable enough goofball, who occasionally did something sensational on the court, but was largely too much of a knucklehead to be considered an actual franchise cornerstone.

He’s bounced around the league for a variety of teams, but now, he’s tearing through the preseason with the Golden State Warriors, and for the sake of everyone, we hope he makes this team. McGee’s antics are basically the patron saint of the best segment in all of sports, “Shaqtin’ A Fool.” If he’s paired up with the best team in all of basketball, the results are destined to be glorious.

Can you imagine Stephen Curry throwing lobs to this dude? (Getting dunked on in practice by Anderson Varejao doesn’t exactly help his cause.) There’s a small part of me that’s always felt bad for McGee. He’s been getting clowned for some time on national television and, as a result, no one particularly takes him seriously. He’s legit battled injuries throughout his career, but every time he shows up with a new haircut, the immaturity comments come back, even though he’s a 28-year-old man.

He told the The San Jose Mercury News last week that it still bothers him.

Shaqtin’ a Fool became popular. McGee was its unwilling star. It morphed into a label he couldn’t shake. Strangers chided him about it in public. McGee privately seethed, most upset, he said, that it was on the league’s network.

“Fans think it’s real, like that’s real life and they think I’m a dumb person,” McGee said. “It’s just really disappointing that grown men, 50, 40-year-olds are having America’s funniest home videos of a player. And then making it a hashtag and really just trying to ruin someone’s career over basketball mistakes.”

The NBA needs more guys like McGee for more reasons than just bloopers. He’s a young man who’s happy to be where he is and looking to contribute on a squad that he genuinely gets along with. If the Warriors can find a way to make him work, it might be worth getting NBA League Pass just to watch their bench antics, never mind the actual basketball.

Long live Pierre.

WWE wrestler tweets support of Black Lives Matter, Ava DuVernay documentary

Seth Rollins surprised everybody Monday afternoon

3:53 PMWWE wrestler Seth Rollins spoke out Monday afternoon in support of director Ava DuVernay’s new Netflix documentary 13th and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Rollins, whose real name is Colby Lopez, tweeted out “Watch @13THFilm. #BlackLivesMatter” to his 1.6 million Twitter followers, a reference to DuVernay’s (Selma) documentary on the history of slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and the 13th Amendment that was released on the streaming platform on Sept. 7. He also used the hashtag that’s often used in support of the current grassroots civil rights movement taking place across the world.

The two-time WWE world heavyweight champion — who is half-Armenian and half-German and Irish, and competes on the Monday Night Raw brand for WWE — much like most wrestlers in the company hasn’t been known to speak about social issues in the past. In fact, Rollins recently broke up with former WWE girlfriend Zahra Schreiber, who was fired from the company in 2015 for posting anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi artwork on her social media accounts. Rollins, 30, never publicly disavowed Schreiber’s actions and continued to date her for at least half a year after her firing.

What’s most shocking about Rollins’ statement is that it comes from within a company known for it’s complicated history in regard to race and African-Americans. Not to mention, the WWE is run by staunch Republicans who belong to a party that openly rejects the Black Lives Matter movement, and some who even compare the group to the Ku Klux Klan.

This tweet comes just weeks after fellow WWE wrestler Randy Orton disavowed the actions of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others who kneel for The Star-Spangled Banner. In late September, the 12-time world heavyweight champion tweeted “Courage? Lol riiiight. Courage. Thats what it takes to stand up and fight, not raise a fist” in response to those who choose to protest the national anthem. Orton followed that up by stating, in response to a tweet about black men dying at the hands of police officers, “Americans are dying. Pigment of skin doesn’t matter. American people matter.”

Rollins competes Mondays on Raw on the USA Network.

Adrian Gonzalez does not appear to be a Donald Trump fan

The Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman refused to stay at Trump’s hotel on team trip

3:00 PMRemember when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that Mexico was sending drugs, criminals and rapists to our country? I’ll bet Adrian Gonzalez does. The Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, whose homer was the difference in a win over the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, refused to stay at Chicago’s Trump International Hotel back in May, eschewing the option his team had used for years, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Gonzalez, who is of Mexican descent, said “I had my reasons,” as far as why he chose not to stay with the team during the road trip. But let’s be clear, the reason is obvious. In June of last year, Trump was just at the beginning of his string of outlandish statements on his way to the GOP nomination. But they were also some of his most pointed.

“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” Trump said at his campaign announcement. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

It was a stunning entrance into a race that many thought he was running primarily as a public relations stunt. Now that we’re a couple of weeks away from the presidential election, the reverberations from his rhetoric are spilling over into the sports world in more ways than just hotel accommodations. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is doing everything he can to sidestep controversy whenever his friend Trump’s name is brought up. The list of athletes who do have Trump’s back is not short.

This isn’t the first time he’s gone afoul of a group of athletes, however. Earlier this month, he made fun of NFL players over the new concussion protocols. Mind you, this is a guy who once tanked an entire football league on his own, basically. Something tells me that if he’s elected, those team visits to the White House might go a tad differently than they have the past eight years.

Daily Dose: 10/17/16

The clown foolishness is completely out of hand

1:00 PMToday is apparently National Pasta Day. My favorite pasta is linguine, because I’m boring. But if I had to choose a pasta I thought most represented me, it would be tagliatelle.

By proxy, our nation is back at war. The military offensive on Mosul, Iraq, is underway, which means that the fighters the United States has been training for years are finally trying to take back one of the main cities that was captured by the Islamic State group. As far as people interested in war go, it’s a huge deal. On the other side of that of course are all the people who will be displaced, never mind killed, as a result of the fighting. You can expect far more refugees to begin pouring out of Iraq and into Syria. This will get worse before it gets better. ABC News reports.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Hillary Clinton’s emails are very outchea. While Donald Trump has been actively destroying his own campaign to be president, on the Democratic side of things, there’s all sorts of correspondence out there, courtesy WikiLeaks. Republicans can’t seem to understand why people care far less about this than they do a screaming real estate magnate. Here’s a quick breakdown of a few of the things that you can find in those correspondences if you don’t have the time to go sifting through thousands of documents.

Pardon the pun, but the clown situation in this country is officially insane. Things have gotten so hectic regarding people dressing up as clowns and terrifying neighborhoods that Target has officially decided to pull masks from shelves in some places, prior to Halloween, which is one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard. That comes second only to the fact that there was an actual Clown Lives Matter march that was supposed to happen over the weekend, which was summarily canceled, due to death threats. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

I’m starting to worry about Odell Beckham, Jr. On Sunday, he had a big performance against the Baltimore Ravens, but it was what the New York Giants receiver did when he wasn’t catching the ball that was noticeable. For one, he’s taken this bit with the kicking net waaaaaay too far. Secondly, his touchdown celebrations have started to become more akin to a child acting out during a temper tantrum, rather than a professional celebrating an achievement. Which is all fine. I just wonder if this is eventually going to cost his team. It almost did Sunday.

Free Food

Coffee Break: The story of Kalief Browder is one of the hardest to swallow. He’s the guy who was held at Rikers Island for three whole years as a teenager without ever being convicted of anything. He eventually killed himself when he was released. Now, his mother, who championed his cause, has died of a heart attack. So, so sad.

Snack Time: Colored pencils are the jam. Back in the day, if someone came to you with a set of them for you, it was like a confession of love. These days, though, adults are back at it, too. That’s why this set already has a wait list.

Dessert: You like podcasts, right? Well, you can check out ours. Here’s another list of good ones from 2016.

Daily Dose: 10/14/16

It’s officially cuffing season

2:15 PMHey gang, your boy has been under the weather for the better part of this week, but Cousin Aaron has done a great job filling in while I’ve been gone. Of course, our beloved Washington Nationals found a way to blow it Thursday night, but whatever.

President Obama is making more friends with every step when it comes to Cuba. First, he eased relations with the island nation that was a long overdue step in many minds. Then, they had a baseball game there, which was cool, too. Now, in a move that will ultimately result in a lot more luggage being carried on to planes, he’s eliminated the limit to the amount of cigars and rum you can bring back to the U.S. after a visit. Anyone want to take a flight to Havana? That trip just got a lot more fun.

Donald Trump is still doing the absolute most. Now that more women are coming out to say that he at some point engaged in some level of sexual misconduct, the Republican presidential nominee is melting down and claiming a global conspiracy is to blame for his campaign’s current situation. Think about that for a second. A guy who on one hand claims to wield so much power through his real estate activities is now saying that there is a worldwide plan to keep him down. Now he’s threatening to sue everyone, as well. What a mess.

If you didn’t know, it’s officially cuffing season. If you find yourself in a pumpkin patch or picking apples, best believe you’re about to get chose. There are fun parts about this time of year. When it’s a tad too cold outside to talk trash and drink beer with the squad, you can knock out those Netflix episodes that you were too cool to watch when the weather was nice. Or, if you just want someone to sleep next to with the window open at night, tis the season to find that person. Here’s VICE‘s official guide to navigating this time of year.

FIFA is poised to ruin the World Cup. No. 1, the next two venues are likely to be a bit of a disaster, with Russia’s major problems with racism and Qatar’s temperature, never mind human rights concerns. Now, for whatever reason, they’ve decided that neither Europe nor Asia should be hosting another world tournament anytime soon, which basically means that 2026 is pretty well destined to come to the United States. They’re also considering expanding the tournament, which is the worst idea ever.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you didn’t see Ben Carson on television Friday morning, it really was a sight to behold. He got involved in a row with Katty Kay and Joe Scarborough, and decided that he was going to make a bunch of ridiculous comments about what our true priorities should be, not what’s actually happening on the campaign trail.

Snack Time: Kevin Hart stays winning and keeping his portfolio diversified. He recently got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and now for his new film, he actually dropped a mixtape, too, which is hilarious.

Dessert: If you fell in love with Ken Bone this week, you might want to reconsider that.

Daily Dose: 10/13/16

Russell Westbrook thinks the ‘selfless’ Warriors are ‘cute’

1:00 PMIn my 23 years of life, I’ve never seen a professional Washington, D.C., sports team advance to the final four of anything. Thursday night, the Washington Nationals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. If they win, they’ll be one of four teams left chasing the World Series. Hope they don’t blow it.

Accusations of sexual assault have been made against Donald Trump. The jarring comments about women Trump made during a 2005 conversation with Billy Bush, and his recent defense of those comments as “locker room talk,” have given a few women the courage to speak out against Trump, based on past experiences they say they had with the Republican presidential nominee. A People magazine reporter alleges she was physically attacked by Trump, also in 2005, while two other women have claimed he inappropriately touched them. ABC News’ David Caplan and Meaghan Keneally report.

Can Donald Trump still win, though? It’s been quite the week for him, and quite the campaign, if we’re being honest. It seems like every day some of his dirty laundry gets aired, which makes some think, “Should this guy really lead our country?” But obviously Trump still has a plethora of supporters, though he remains down in the polls. According to FiveThirtyEight, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is leading by about 7 percentage points in the polls. Is there precedent for a comeback? Harry Enten has the answer.

A cop’s decision to pull out a gun has always terrified and fascinated me. My dad is a retired cop, and based on the relations police have had this past year with African-Americans, I asked him in July what’s the proper way — by the textbook, at least — to handle a high-pressure situation. He provided some interesting insight, unlike anything we’ve heard from the officers who’ve taken the lives of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and others. As we learned, there’s no single answer to the question, “When should cops go for their guns?” VICE‘s Robin Washington provides his take.

We’re definitely here for this Russell Westbrook-Kevin Durant beef. Remember when Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer in free agency and decided to join the Golden State Warriors — the same the team that knocked the Thunder out of the 2016 NBA playoffs? Well, that didn’t sit too well with Westbrook, Durant’s former Thunder teammate. Durant’s recent comment that the loaded Warriors squad is “selfless” also didn’t sit well with Westbrook. His response? “Cute.” ESPN’s Royce Young reports.

Free food

Coffee Break: Ever since Trump made his “locker room talk” comment, reporters around the country have been asking professional athletes for their thoughts about the validity of the statement. On Tuesday, LeBron James and Tom Brady were the latest to get questioned, and they had very different responses.

Snack Time: A man in the U.K. has been chasing down killer clowns while dressed as Batman. He’s the hero the world both deserves and needs right now, tbh.

Dessert: There’s a new “joggling” world record holder.