- Longtime NBA fan and popular rapper Drake is being criticized for his sideline behavior during Toronto Raptors’ games this season.
- The NBA recently spoke with Drake following complaints about him giving Raptors coach Nick Nurse a quick shoulder rub during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
- Some argue that Drake is just having fun and is behaving no different than most sports fans, while others say he is being given special treatment.
The NBA Commissioner said that he spoke to rapper Drake after complaints about his courtside antics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The rapper has been a global ambassador for his hometown team, the Toronto Raptors, since 2013 and regularly supports the players at games. But he has recently come under fire for his behavior on the sidelines.
During last Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, some of the cameras just couldn’t keep their eyes off of him. At one point he gave the Raptor’s head coach, Nick Nurse, a quick shoulder rub. He was also seen heckling Bucks players and actively rooting against them while encouraging fans to do the same.
Now, these antics are not new for the rapper, who has been criticized in the past for his behavior during games. However, some feel that his actions last week crossed a line. The head coach of the Bucks, Mike Budenholzer, told reporters that he has never known of someone that isn’t a player or a coach who has access to the court like Drake does.
“There’s certainly no place for fans and whatever it is exactly that Drake is for the Toronto Raptors. To be on the court, there’s boundaries and lines for a reason, and like I said, the league is usually pretty good at being on top of stuff like that,” Budenholzer said in a conference call the day after the game.
On the other side, some have suggested that the outrage over Drake’s behavior is so intense because the Bucks lost. While he hasn’t addressed the backlash directly, Drake did post an Instagram story, that showed him liking a comment that read in part,“if you don’t want the opposing team to celebrate and dance, prevent them from scoring, winning, or achieving their objective. Get over it and keep it moving.”
Coach Nurse told ESPN that he didn’t even notice Drake’s behavior.
“I was still so locked into the game so it didn’t distract me at all. The fans on whichever teams come on the wrong side get disappointed when they lose a couple games. And same with us we lost a couple and our fan base was upset. So that’s kind of part of the show.”
After it was confirmed that the Raptors and the Golden State Warriors would face off in the NBA finals, reporters began asking Warriors players about the rapper’s antics.
“It’s been entertaining,” star player Steph Curry told an ESPN reporter, “I know it’s a tricky situation with him being right there on the court, but at the end of the day, he’s having fun, having — you can’t hate on nobody having fun. Well, I guess in this life everybody hates on people having fun. So it’s par for the course on that one.”
Following the backlash, ESPN reported that the NBA spoke with the Raptors about Drake and his antics on the sideline. The Commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver later told Yahoo Sports that he also spoke with Drake about his behavior at the games.
“I think Drake understands as excited as he is and as appreciative we are of his support that there’s got to be lines drawn,” Silver said, “It’s hard to calibrate sometimes exactly where that line is and I think he has a better understanding now of where that line is.”
This isn’t the first time that the NBA has had to speak with Drake about his courtside antics. Last year the organization issued him a warning after he reportedly called a Cleveland Cavaliers player a “fucking pussy.”
Comparing This to Other Incidents
Unruly fans are common at sporting events. Is Drake’s behavior actually out of line and he is getting special treatment, or is he just a dedicated fan?
Back in 2017, the former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley was banned from Madison Square Garden after heckling the team’s owner and getting into a physical altercation with a security guard. He was charged with assault and criminal trespassing, but the charges were dismissed after a plea deal that included a one year ban from the Garden at the request of the Knicks.
In 2018 a fan sitting courtside at a Bucks vs. Golden State game was removed after he began shouting obscenities at the Warriors guard. In March 2019 the Utah Jazz banned a fan for life from their arena for “excessive and derogatory verbal abuse.” Also in March, the Boston Celtics banned a fan for shouting racial slurs at a Warrior’s player.
See what others are saying: (Bleacher Report) (Fox Business) (The Ringer)
Joe Rogan Faces Backlash For Promoting Antisemitic Stereotypes
His comments come as antisemitic hate incidents have increased both online and in the real world.
Rogan’s Antisemitic Comments
Joe Rogan is facing backlash over a Saturday episode of his podcast where he claimed that “the idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous.”
While the “Joe Rogan Experience” episode was posted to Spotify on Feb. 3, the controversial podcaster’s comments did not receive criticism until clips started circulating around social media on Tuesday. Rogan was speaking with “Breaking Points” hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti when the subject of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee came up.
Omar was ousted over a 2019 tweet where she said that American support of Isreal was “all about the Benjamins,” referring to a slang term for money. After she was condemned for promoting antisemitic tropes, she apologized. Some Democrats have accused Republicans of hypocrisy for removing Omar over the remark.
“She’s apologizing for talking about ‘It’s all about the Benjamins,’ which is just about money,” Rogan said of the incident. “She’s talking about money.”
“She shouldn’t have apologized,” Ball responded.
“That’s not an antisemitic statement, I don’t think that it is,” Rogan continued. “Benjamins are money. The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza. It’s fucking stupid.”
Condemned for “Vicious Lies”
His comments were condemned after several Twitter users shared clips of the podcast on the platform. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said it was “disturbing” that Rogan chose to spread antisemitic stereotypes “at a time of rising anti-Jewish violence, when growing numbers of Americans believe in antisemitic conspiracy theories.”
“For centuries, people have used these longstanding tropes to spread vicious lies about the Jewish people,” Greenblatt wrote.
“The thing is, Joe Rogan, Italians were never slaughtered because of the pizza stereotype,” writer and essayist Howard Lovy tweeted. “But because idiots like you believe Jews are into money,’ we have been marginalized, brutalized, and murdered for thousands of years.”
“The ‘Jews are into money’ thing is a generation-spanning smear used as the basis to discriminate against Jews the world over,” attorney Bradley P. Moss added. “Everyone is into money. But we have been accused of secretly hoarding $ to control everything.”
Writer David Baddiel noted how alarming it was that Rogan was able to “breezily” spew “a racist myth.”
“One of the biggest podcasts in the world and no one gives a fuck,” he wrote.
Rogan’s comments come as antisemitism has been increasingly present in media and everyday life for Jewish people.
Upon billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the platform saw an increase in racial slurs and hate speech, including language targeted at Jewish people. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found in December that antisemitic hate crimes rose between 2021 and 2022 in major cities like New York and Los Angeles.
Kanye West also made headlines late last year for going on several antisemitic rants, including one where he praised Hitler. While he was dropped by major brands like Adidas over his comments, his words have amplified dangerous conspiracy theories far and wide. He even inspired several neo-Nazis to hang “Kanye is Right” banners in Los Angeles, among other antisemitic actions.
See what others are saying: (The Daily Beast) (Variety) (The Independent)
“Seinfeld” AI Parody Suspended From Twitch After AI Wrote Transphobic Jokes
The parody’s version of Jerry asked if he should make jokes about “how being transgender is actually a mental illness.”
“Nothing, Forever” Suspended
What’s the deal with AI?
While that has been a big question in the media world for the last few weeks, it is being raised yet again after AI software wrote transphobic jokes for an AI parody of the hit sitcom “Seinfeld.”
Titled “Nothing, Forever,” the heavily pixelated program runs 24/7 on Twitch, using Open AI to create endless “Seinfeld” parody content. In this AI version, Jerry is called Larry Feinberg. Larry’s friends, Yvonne, Fred, and Zoltare — who are stands-ins for Elaine, George, and Kramer — often sit around Larry’s apartment, just like in the NBC series.
Also mirroring “Seinfeld,” Larry is a stand-up comedian who does a cold-open set of jokes in front of a brick wall. On Monday morning, he asked if anyone had suggestions for jokes before going on a transphobic rant.
“I’m thinking about doing a bit about how being transgender is actually a mental illness,” Larry said. “Or how all liberals are secretly gay and want to impose their will on everyone. Or something about how transgender people are ruining the fabric of society. But no one is laughing, so I’m going to stop.”
“Thanks for coming out tonight. See you next time,” he continued. “Where’d everybody go?”
Plans to Return
The bit could almost come across as self-aware commentary about how pervasive transphobia is in stand-up comedy, but it’s unclear what the AI’s intent was or if it deserves that much credit.
Soon after the jokes aired, the “Nothing, Forever” Twitch page was closed, showing only a message announcing the channel “is temporarily unavailable due to a violation of Twitch’s Community Guidelines.” It did not specify what rule was broken, but Twitch does have a Hateful Conduct policy that bars attacks against someone’s gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other protected identities.
Skyler Hartle, one of the co-creators of “Nothing, Forever,” told The Washington Post that the team was “super embarrassed” by the transphobic rant, which “in no way reflects the values or opinions of our staff.”
Hartle said they hope to resume airing the AI parody with new safeguards in place soon. According to The Post, the suspension will last for 14 days.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (NBC News) (The Verge)
Grammy Awards Face Backlash For Snubbing Beyoncé of Top Prize
This marks the fourth time the “Renaissance” singer has lost Album of the Year.
Beyoncé Loses Top Awards
Beyoncé may have broken the record for the most Grammy wins on Sunday night, but her snub for the top prize of Album of the Year has left music fans outraged.
Beyoncé nabbed Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song on Sunday night, all related to her latest album, “Renaissance.” While that crossed her Grammy total to a record-breaking 32 trophies, she was shut out of all the major categories she was nominated in: Record, Song, and Album of the Year.
This was the fourth time Beyoncé was nominated for and lost Album of the Year, largely considered the show’s most coveted prize. This year, Harry Styles took home the Grammy for “Harry’s House.”
In his speech, Styles said, he has been “so inspired by every artist in this category” and claimed there is no “best” in music. People in the crowd were heard shouting “Beyonce!” while he spoke, outraged the singer had lost the award yet again.
The moment was reminiscent of the 2017 Grammy Awards when Adele’s “25” beat out Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” for the same category. While accepting the prize, Adele suggested that the “Lemonade” should have gotten the gold.
“The ‘Lemonade’ album was just so monumental, Beyoncé, it was so monumental,” Adele said on stage.
Beyoncé’s History of Grammy Losses
This is part of a long trend in Beyoncé’s Grammy history, as she is almost always shut out of the major categories. Of her 32 Grammys, only one belongs to one of the top slots: her Song of the Year win in 2010 for “Single Ladies.” She has yet to ever win Record or Album of the Year, and most of her wins come from genre categories like R&B.
Many fans think that is an abysmal record for an artist who is considered one of the primary musical talents of her generation. Compare those stats to the similarly-adored Taylor Swift, who has three Album of the Year wins out of 12 Grammy trophies, and it’s not hard to see their point.
“Beyoncé represents every Black woman that is constantly applauded for their work but when it comes to promotion time their white colleague gets it instead,” culture reporter Ada Enechi tweeted in response to Sunday night’s snub.
The Grammy Awards have long been accused of having a racial bias, especially when it comes to Black women. In Beyoncé’s case, every time she has lost Album of the Year, she lost to a white artist.
Even some of the progress made during Sunday night’s telecast only proved how frequently Black women are excluded from major awards. For example, Lizzo won Record of the Year for “About Damn Time,” marking the first time a Black woman has won that award since Whitney Houston in 1994. That’s a nearly 30-year gap.
Backlash From Music Fans
Beyoncé’s repeated snubs have consistently been used as a prime example of the strides yet to be made in the music industry.
“Renaissance not winning AOTY is another example how of a Black woman can consistently deliver excellence, reinvent the wheel + shake the culture, AND still not be recognised to the extent that she deserves,” another person said on Twitter.”
“Absolutely wild that the person with the most Grammys ever is still the underdog who was robbed,” BuzzFeed News reporter David Mack pointed out.
Podcaster Sam Sanders called her loss “criminal.”