Kaepernick’s protest gets the remix it was always going to

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Based on the way people are reacting to Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem and confusing it with disrespect for the nation’s military and everything the flag stands for, I feel like I need to break some news to y’all.

Sources familiar with the situation are indicating that it’s just not that deep, fam.

As a matter of fact, here’s a handy graphic showing you how deep it’s not:

 

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What’s happened here is pretty clear. People, white people in particular, have ignored the statement Kaepernick was trying to make regarding the way black people are treated by the police and decided to have the red herring discussion of how disrespectful he was to the military.

I’ve even heard the argument that by not saluting the flag he is disrespecting everyone who’s ever fought defending. This argument has been circulating unironically, as people neglect to realize that part of what our military tries to defend is the right to do things like peaceful protest. And apparently Kaepernick comes from the Rosa Parks school of thought that says the best way to peacefully protest is to sit your black ass down while the white people around you lose their minds.

But the timing of this is interesting, as there hasn’t been any one incident of excessive police violence that has recently dominated the national conversation. Maybe Kaepernick just went down the depressing-ass Youtube rabbit hole of police killings that I refuse to go down myself and came out with a new perspective. However he reached his enlightenment, the decision to address it the way he did shows a level of fearlessness on his part, a fearlessness that was not shared by his teammates as they all responded with some variety of “he’s entitled to his own opinion.”

But while his teammates at least didn’t do anything stupid like  forget Kaepernick was black or revealing yourself to be a resident of masta’s house, there doesn’t appear to be too much support for someone who has been very clear about what he is and is not taking a stand against when asked by the media that surrounded his locker after the third game of the preseason.

People are still looking for ways to make the flag into some untouchable symbol beyond criticism while pretending the Star-Spangled Banner is the hottest track ever recorded.  Let’s be real: that song is in desperate need of a remix. Maybe Desiigner can do some ad-libs. Have Funk Master Flex throw in some bomb drops over “the bombs bursting in air” part of the song. Dr. Dre can remix the national anthem to build anticipation for his forthcoming album that never comes. Beyonce and hologram Whitney Houston can team up on the vocals. Big Sean can spit a fire verse at the end, only to be upstaged again when Kendrick spits his verse. DJ Khaled can say something ridiculous and patriotic as the song fades out. (“They don’t want us to dump the tea in the harbor, so we dumped the tea in the harbor. That’s a major key.”) If we do this right, this can be the hottest posse cut since “We are the World.”

The idea of having a full on remix of a national anthem is ridiculous, if for no other reason than hologram Whitney Houston would sing Beyonce under the table and cause wars to break out in the hashtags on Black Twitter as the old heads argued with young bucks about who the better singer was.

However, turning Kaepernick’s stand for justice into an opportunity to get into an irrelevant debate about his respect for the country and the military is equally ridiculous and not nearly as funny.

One of the more interesting debates that has emerged from this is the discussion of whether Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality has failed. It’s too early to tell if it has failed, but if it does, it will be because his message was purposely mangled by those who would rather pretend to care about the troops more than they actually do than discuss the reality that a large segment of the populations views traffic stops as near death experiences.

I was originally going to write a really serious piece in which I would dismantle the thinly-veiled racism that surrounds the “shut up and play” narrative that has been used to  discredit Kaepernick’s peaceful protest. If black people hadn’t been experiencing this since the days of Jack Johnson, I’d be more surprised and feel more compelled to talk about this without the jest.

I was even going to relate my own personal story about how San Francisco’s finest tried to jam me up one night, and the only thing that kept me from going to jail was the receipt I had in a shopping bag that proved I was where I said I was. (Shout out to Patrice O’Neal for teaching me how to prove my innocence.)

But, since we arrived at such a familiar place with Kaepernick’s protest, a discussion of the quality of our dated national anthem seems much more appropriate.

If Kap is anything like me, maybe he would feel better if a song that represented his black experience was playing. I bet we can get him to stand for the black national anthem.

 

Canelo Alvarez isn’t here to box, he’s here to win

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When I texted one of my good friends to ask what he thought of the match up between Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto he told me that fight would hinge on the footwork of the two boxers. He said “Canelo has cinder blocks on his feet and has terrible movement.” He also said that if I were a betting man, which I am, that I should put my money on Cotto to pull the upset.

I went against his advice and I’m slightly richer for it.

My friend was right, though. It was clear from the opening bell that Cotto’s plan was to dance around his flat footed opponent all night. Cotto out boxed Alvarez for the entirety of the bout. If boxing was like figure skating and the judges were looking at the purity of the technique, Cotto wins all 12 rounds.

But boxing is mostly about inflicting damage. Those cinder blocks that were attached to Alvarez’s feet were apparently attached to his hands too because everything that he landed, landed hard. Cotto was looking real nice with his own quick combos but nothing he landed really seemed to phase Alvarez. Alvarez would get hit with a couple of hooks and jabs, shake it off, and get ready to come forward again. But Alvarez was landing those punches that make you reevaluate your life choices.  Cotto got hit with one of those uppercuts in the late rounds and you could see him thinking, “Damn, maybe I should go back to school and get my bachelor’s” When Cotto was eating punches in bunches during an intense exchange in the 8th round it looked like he was making retirement plans in his head like, “I wonder if HBO would hire me as analyst when my career is over. I speak better English than Roy Jones Jr anyway”

Alvarez had the overall advantage in percentage of punches landed but absolutely  dominated in the power punch category landing 40 percent while Cotto was only able to land 14 percent.  Numbers like that have me questioning the sanity of Freddie Roach.

The scary part about what we saw from Alvarez is that he doesn’t need to try to box with his opponents. He tried to box with Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather had him swing at air. (Except for that one time where he made really solid contact with the ropes.)

This version of Alvarez knew his limitations and stayed in his lane. He doesn’t have footwork. He just kinda walks towards you and looks to land hay makers like he did against James Kirkland.

The best part of that highlight is when the ref says “show me something,” to Kirkland and Kirkland gets slept and does his best impersonation of someone with narcolepsy.

The people who doubted Alvarez thought that a superior boxer would pick him apart. But when he’s making up for his lack of footwork with above average head movement, taking advantage of his 70.5  inch reach, and landing his power punches with accuracy like he did against Cotto, he’ll be damn near unbeatable.

He’s not overly technical and now he knows he doesn’t have to be. He’s like Rick Ross, he ain’t trippin’ on the technical parts of his style too much.  He’s just gonna make sure those hooks hit hard.

 

Kaepernick gets his chance to chill

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Its official. Colin Kaepernick is on vacation. He got demoted to back of quarterback just in time to really get turnt up for his birthday. He may be on the sidelines watching Blaine Gabbert while nursing a hang over. If you see him on the sidelines wearing sunglasses sipping Gatorade then you know what he did with his birthday weekend.

And he’d better enjoy the break while it lasts because as bad as things look for him now, he will be back by the end of the season.

The issue with Kaepernick isn’t one of physical talent. Ron Jaworski caught a lot of heat for his praise of Kaepernick but his analysis wasn’t completely baseless. We’ve seen the flashes of brilliance. We saw him bolt away from the entire Green Bay Packers defense like his name was Usain just two years ago. We saw him lead the team to three NFC championship games and a Superbowl. He’s got the tools to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He’s just forgotten how to use those tools and being knocked around by one of the worst o-lines in football isn’t gonna help him remember any time soon.

The general line of thinking is that if the 49ers are making a move like this, then the coaching staff and the front office must think that Blaine Gabbert is a better option to help this team win. Maybe this is me being a 49ers fan and giving the coaching staff too much credit, but they can’t possibly be that stupid. Its not possible that anybody even half way mentally competent looked at Option A that used to work and thought that the solution to the problem was to go with Option B that has never worked. Whats Gabbert about to do to show you that he deserves that job more than Kaepernick? While you think of possible answers to that question enjoy this Blaine Gabbert music video.

If you came up with an answer other than, “Gabbert isn’t an NFL caliber quarterback,” in those three minutes and 53 seconds  then there’s a good chance you’re related to him.

Whats actually happening here is that Kaepernick is getting a break. He’s a  badly beaten boxer who’s been given a standing 8 count. Gabbert is in a situation where the front office and the coaching staff has made his job to lose. And because he is Blaine Gabbert he will find a way to lose this job by doing typical Blaine Gabbert stuff. (The coolest of the Blaine Gabbert stuff obviously being that he cussed at Brian Cushing while running out of bounds.)

People are calling this the end of the Colin Kaepernick era and I can’t blame the sports columnists of the world for jumping to that conclusion. Robert Griffin III lost his job to Kirk Cousins in Washington and Jay Gruden is making every excuse to justify this choice. But the bias against Kap in San Francisco isn’t as strong as the bias against RGIII in Washington. All Cousins has to do is be white and not be Robert Griffin. Gabbert’s excepted to actually look like a legit starting quarterback. Since its impossible for him to pull that off we’ll see the bicep kissing QB back  by Christmas. Which will be just in time for that Kap to get off the stool and throw his punches at the end of the season, for better or worse.

The Suits and 40’s mixtape tour: NBA players and their rapper counterparts Part 4

 There’s always been an obvious connection between the NBA and the world of hip-hop. The music is played in the arenas, the players have it on in their headphones pre-game, and Lebron James is out here singing Fetty Wap off key on the sidelines.  After years of watching the NBA, and after years of wishing the And1 Mixtape Tour would come back to ESPN, I’ve noticed that there a lot of players in the NBA who actually remind me of some biggest names in hip-hop. Continue reading

Pat Haden can’t do both

Steve Sarkisian at a press conference introducing him as the new USC  head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

Steve Sarkisian at a press conference introducing him as the new USC head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

What we have here is the latest example of, “you can’t do both”.

You can either have off the field issues or have on the field issues. Problems in one area can earn you a second chance. Problems with both will get you fired. Sarkisian was the head coach of a USC Trojans team that was supposed to contend for a national title but has since slipped out of the top 25 in the polls. If he’s sober with a 3-2 record he has a job. If he’s drunk with a 5-0 record, he has a job assuming he doesn’t make a fool of himself in public again. But being an alcoholic with a 3-2 record and a loss at home to Washington will cost you your job. You can’t do both.

But, if you listen to Pay Haden talk about the straw that broke the camels back he does a good job of pretending this is the first time he’s noticed Sarkians health problems. Seeing Haden give that press conference reminded me of all the times I pretended I didn’t get a bill in the mail. He really tried to sit there and act like he didn’t witness or hear of Sarkisian being intoxicated at any point since he hired him.

Either he’s not connected to his football program or he’s acting like the special guest referee at WWE match who didn’t just see that guy get hit with the steel chair. Haden even had a “zero tolerance policy” regarding Sarkisian and alcohol like the only thing keeping Sarkisian from kicking his addition was his boss saying not to drink. I can’t tell if this is him not understanding the nature of addiction or if he was just looking for a way to cover his own ass by saying the prevision was in his contract.

How much effort was required by Haden to act like he didn’t see he had a problem on his hands? Was it like back in the day when I knew I failed a test and didn’t look at the grade like the F didn’t count unless I saw it? How many times did coaches say something to him about Coach Sark not looking well?

“Hey, Pat I don’t think Sark is healthy right now. He seemed really out of it today at the team meeting.”

“Yeah, well there’s been a cold going around campus so be sure to wash your hands and sneeze into your elbow.”

“I don’t know, I’m concerned he may be drinking again.”

“Well, the atmosphere on campus on game day is so intense its impossible to not get excited and feel intoxicated.”

And I would also love to hear what Haden had to say the boosters who questioned him when he announced the hire of Sarkisian:

“ Come on guys, I know he’s had his issues but I know a good coaching talent when I see one. Its not like I had to fire the last guy I hired in the middle of a blow out game or anything.”

(You can’t hire Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian back to back like you’re on the cover of Lethal Weapon, back to back like your Jordan ’96, ’97.)

To be clear, the fact that Sarkisian was battling with issues in his persona life  and it went unaddressed for a number of years isn’t funny. But, I will not make any apologies for laughing at the level of denial that it must have taken to justify what was obviously the wrong choice in head coach. Haden made a move that was morally questionable and lost football games at the same damn time. He could have done either one of those things and not had people call for him to step down. But now,  USC’s title hopes are virtually non existent and he decided to put the kids in that program under the care of someone battling with deep seeded personal issues.

If Haden wants to keep his job, he can’t do both.

The Suits and 40’s mixtape tour: NBA players and their rapper counterparts Part 3

There’s always been an obvious connection between the NBA and the world of hip-hop. The music is played in the arenas, the players have it on in their headphones pre-game, and somewhere in Toronto Drake is waiting for someone to come shoot with him in the gym.  After years of watching the NBA, and after years of wishing the And1 Mixtape Tour would come back to ESPN, I’ve noticed that there a lot of players in the NBA who actually remind me of some biggest names in hip-hop.

Meek Mill and Mark Cuban

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Nobody took L’s this summer like these men did. The sad part about it is I had associated these men with winning. Mark Cuban is a billionaire who owns one of the more successful franchises in the NBA. I don’t know what Meek Mill’s worth is but he gets to wake up next to Nicki Minaj everyday so even if his album flops he still winning the game of life. The summer of 2015 was supposed to be a good one for these guys. Cuban was gonna build his team back into a championship contender by signing DeAndre Jordan and Meek was dropping an album that was gonna have a feature from Drake.

And then two of the most hilarious beefs of all time started.

DeAndre Jordan had a handshake agreement to sign with Dallas, but had to wait until the signing period actually started before he could make it official. Before I was even done cracking jokes about Jordan seeing himself as a staple in the offense in Dallas, he had changed his mind and decided he wanted to play with Chris Paul’s angry ass again. Why he wanted to play with Paul, who talks to him like an angry parent who busts in your room without knocking to yell at you for not picking up those damn clothes off the floor, I’m not sure. But whatever the reason, Cuban was pissed. Allegedly pissed enough to make the trip to Houston and try to roll up on Jordan’s house and send some thirsty ass text messages.

We’ve all sent thirsty ass texts and gotten no response. But hopefully none of you guys have ever sent thirsty texts and then tried to catch the person you were thirsty for at their house and then had your thirst reported on by the sports media. Also, Cuban’s lived in Dallas for more than a minute. Texas is a gun loving state. Why is he showing up unannounced when one of Jordan’s neighbors may just have the chopper on deck? He should have known better.

Meek Mill’s wounds were more self-inflicted. Look, we know Drake doesn’t write a lot of that stuff he be sayin. And a lot of ya’ll don’t seem to care.However, I still care, and apparently, so does Meek. Meek cared so much, that he was decided to take to Twitter just to let everybody know how disappointed he was in Drizzy.

I’m not gonna talk about “Charged Up” too much because that was one of the weakest disses I ever heard. Even when Drake mad at you it still sound like a love song. But when Drake came at him with “Back to Back”…it was over. “Back to Back” wasn’t just your average diss record though. It was a package deal. He turned a diss into a multimeida event complete with powerpoint on the over head projector.  Meanwhile both the diss tracks got higher on the Billboard list than any song off of Meek’s album and the highest ranking song of his album was “R.I.C.O..”which featured the verse that Drake hadn’t written.

I don’t normally give advice to celebrities but if Meek Mill or Mark Cuban are reading this you should give this blog a shout out. You should also both calm the fuck down. Every time I turn around Cuban’s getting fined for yelling at the referees. And Meek Mill needs to be fined yelling in general. Meek Mill rap like he know your headphones are shorting out and he wants to make sure you hear him clearly. As a matter of fact my favorite part of R.I.C.O is when he tells the listener to be quiet because the feds are watching when he was the one who just got through yelling for two minutes. Meek and Cuban also need to stop tripping on ghostwriters. People don’t care Drake isn’t a writer and no one cares if Jordan actually wrote his apology. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Quintin Miller wrote Jordan’s statement as soon as he recorded this reference track.

Flava Flave and Nick Young

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In the context of Public Enemy, Flava Flav was this weird combination of goofy and socially conscious. If you listen to Public Enemy you get 80 percent Chuck D being angry and righteous like someone gave Huey Newton some hot beats to rap over. The other 20 percent is some dude with a clock around his neck telling you that he never dials 911.Listening to that for an entire album could get pretty tiring, so you need Flav for the comic relief. But who out there is trying to hear the Flava Flav solo projects? As of writing this I haven’t looked at his Wikipedia page to check, but I don’t know what he’s done musically since 1994. And I refuse to check his Wikipedia page to see if he tried to drop an album while he was doing that bullshit reality show on VH1.

Anyone who who saw Flavor Flav’s scripted search for love witnessed what happens when he doesn’t have Chuck D to cancel out his goofiness. And in LA, no one can cancel out Swaggy P’s goofy ass either. Kobe keeps trying to come back to lay down the law but old Kobe doesn’t have the same knees as young Kobe. The other problem is, as previously noted, Kobe isn’t a Chuck D type. No one in the NBA is. There is no rebellious, righteous figure who will stand up to the white establishment that runs the NBA. Chris Paul comes close just because he’s the head of the player’s association but he still hasn’t fought the power of David Stern to repeal those oppressive dress code rules that Allen Iverson faught so hard against. Nick Young and Flavor Flav have two main goals in life: get into questionable relationships with foreign white women and to show out as much as possible while they’re performing. Sometimes that means not knowing when a shot is actually going in, other times that means not knowing how many mid air spins is too many. Either way it’s been established, that you cannot leave these guys alone without another authoritative figure around. Chuck D leaves the studio for one second and Flavor Flav gets on TV long enough for this shit to happen. And Kobe was just sittin at home watching Nick Young be bad enough to make sure the Lakers miss the playoffs and the first overall pick in the draft. This is what happens when there are no adults around to supervise.

Earl Sweatshirt and Anthony Davis

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These dudes must have sold their souls to the devil at some dusty crossroads in Mississippi to be so talented at such a young age. All they had to do was trade their good looks to be this good at their crafts before they were even old enough to drink. I’m not the kind of guy who likes to spend a whole lot of time focusing on how another man looks, but I’m still trying to figure out how Earl Sweatshirt looks old and young at the same time. He’s one of the most talented lyricists out right now and he looks like a middle-aged teenager. Anthony Davis is about to overtake LeBron as the best player in the NBA in a few years but his eyebrows have him looking like Helga Pataki from Hey Arnold. His eyebrows look like when children try to draw a picture with birds flying off in the distance.

If you put their awkward appearances aside though, it’s impossible to not recognize how good these guys are. I even heard that Davis was working on a three point shot in the offseason.  If he starts hitting that shot with any consistency, no one will be able to guard him. You’re gonna have to treat him like we treated Mike Vick in Madden 2004. You cant be playing 2K with the Pelicans when you have the player that can score from anywhere, gets rebounds and blocks shots. You gotta put Luke Babbit in there just to keep things fair. Davis signed that ridiculously fat contract and he’ll be worth every dollar of it. I just hope the good people of Kentucky have stopped connecting their eyebrows with permanent marker for a player who kicked it in that backward ass state just long enough to take advantage of that NBA conveyor belt John Calipari built.

And at this point Earl is just as ungaurdable in the booth when it comes to the dark clever word play. Its rappers like him that make me thankful for Rap Genius because some of these lines would have taken months for my dumb ass to decipher back in the day. And I would love to keep cracking jokes about how this man got bags under his eyes and how his hair lines is rolling back like Walmart prices but I need someone to explain to me how someone so young comes up with something this dark?

I know why Earl got bags under his eyes. If that’s what he sees when he goes to bed I wouldn’t want to sleep either. Thats the shit nightmares are made of. Personally I hope every girl who curved these guys in high school is in their DMs on Twitter sounding thisrty. And I hope this was the response:

Jay Electronica and Derrick Rose

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There are few things more painful than being supporters of Derrick Rose or Jay Electronica. You spend the majority of your time telling other basketball/hip hop fans to just wait. Just wait until he gets those samples to clear. Just wait until his knees fell 100 percent. Just wait until you hear the rest of the album. Just wait until the Bulls can get him on the floor for a full season. Waiting for Rose and Electronica to get their shit together is like driving at 2 a.m. and waiting for that flashing red light to turn green. You might as well just keep it moving.

I reserve the right to talk trash about these guys because I really like both of them. It’s impossible to not root for a guy like D-Rose. If you didn’t use the create-a-player function on NBA Live to put yourself on the roster of your favorite team then you’re a liar. Well, Rose is actually the star player on his hometown team. He also taught us a very valuable lesson about not listening to the team doctors. Ya’ll all jumped down his throat when he delayed his comeback from that MCL tear, but he refused to be rushed back. (And if you still think Rose was overly cautious for not playing when doctors cleared him, go ask John Wall and Kyrie Irving about how trustworthy the team medical staff is.)

On the other hand Jay Electronica has a sound that could seriously shake up the landscape if he wasn’t leaking one track off his long-awaited debut album once every 18 months. Even when’s sending his features on someone else’s record he’s late as fuck. The only reason I keep paying attention to this cat is that his leaks are fire. Jay Electronica has been torturing us for years by releasing one good track, hyping it up onw Twitter, then getting distracted from his music because he’s fucking some billionaire’s daughter. You’re better off hoping that Rose shows up to take his own SAT than expecting a concrete release date for Act II.

Don’t be surprised if you see Derrick Rose with an executive producer credit when the record drops. Because I’m pretty sure Rose rehabs in the same room Jay Electronica writes his rhyme. Every time he says he’s ready to release the album Rose rubs his knee and tells him to wait until he’s ready.

…Or his album release date could be getting delayed because he’s engaging in combat against Satan. You never know with this guy.