The Cowboys Probably Would Not Sign a Player Who Supports ISIS

Newly-signed Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy is a heckuva pass rusher. The 26-year-old former Carolina Panther tallied a combined 26 sacks in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, leading the Panthers to keep the defensive end from exploring free agency by applying the franchise tag to the player, paying him $13.1 million for that season. 

He didn’t match those numbers in 2014, though, because he spent the final fifteen games of the season on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, a specially-created purgatory for players charged with or convicted of the sort of crimes the NFL would desperately like to distance itself from. And in July, Hardy was convicted by a judge at a bench trial of threatening and assaulting a woman. 

SXSW 2015: The State of the Brands

As the substantial roar of SXSW Interactive and SXSW Film give way to the sustained, yowling, five-day-long, banshee-like shriek that is SXSW Music, the question, “Is SXSW 2015 a tipping point for the festival” starts to sound downright silly. Take a look at the streets of Austin, which have been packed for the past four days and will only get busier over the next five, and the question really becomes, “Does it even matter?” Kanye’s coming back, y’all—how can SXSW’s health be in question when you’ve got Kanye? 

R. Kelly's Increasingly Controversial Headlining Slot at Free Press Houston Summer Fest

R. Kelly has written and recorded some of the most beloved songs of his generation. Songs adored for their inspirational content (“I Believe I Can Fly,” “The World’s Greatest”), or their ability to weave clever wordplay in with a dirty metaphor (“Ignition,” “Ignition (Remix),” “I’m a Flirt”), or for their audacious, semi-ironic appeal (“Trapped in the Closet” chapters 1-33), or just for being straight-up sex jams (“Bump N’ Grind,” “Sex Me”). His voice is incredible, he rarely receives his due as a songwriter, and the DVD director’s commentary for “Trapped in the Closet” on DVD features a little silhouette of Kels sitting in the corner, watching the music video while smoking a cigar. 

All of this has always been hard to square with the fact that much of what we know about R. Kelly is awful. He was 27 years old when he married the singer Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time. (They met when she was 12.) As other media outlets have reported, someone who looks very much like R. Kelly was in a homemade pornographic video committing statutory rape against (and urinating on) a teenage girl.

Something That Should Never Be a Slideshow

In a short post on Monday, the Houston Chronicle revisited the death of Lacey Smarr, a Longview teenager who died a month ago from complications related to an eating disorder. It’s a tragic story that’s making its way back through the news cycle after the teenager’s mother, Candy Miller, announced she would be starting the Lacey Foundation—an organization to help “raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders as well as offer resources to families in need.”

Austin Tech Bros From #BeSomebody Are Losing the Fight They Picked Against Local High School Students

The Austin tech start-up #BeSomebody—stylized like that, with the hashtag in the name—is built around an idea that makes a certain amount of sense. The company makes an app (with the same name as the company) that, when you cut through a bit of gibberish about “passionaries” and “finding your passion” and stuff, offers an attractive interface for connecting people who are interested in learning something with people who can teach them that thing. It’s like a prettier Craigslist for things like tuba lessons.

Is that a million-dollar idea? Well, considering that someone literally gave them a million dollars to pursue it last year, we would be forced to say yes. However, just because the company was able to secure seven figures in seed funding doesn’t mean that the message and worldview presented by its leadership is going to resonate universally.

George R. R. Martin Gave the Texas A&M Library Its Five Millionth Book

The Texas A&M Library system is one of the university’s under-heralded jewels: it’s ranked as a top-ten research library among public universities in the U.S., its collection is impossibly deep, and its archival system is impressive enough that, when George R. R. Martin sought a place to house his personal papers, he immediately thought of A&M. 

Martin’s relationship with A&M just got a little deeper, as well: when it came time for the library to receive its five millionth book, the donor was Martin, who presented the school’s Cushing Memorial Library and Archives’ Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection with a first-edition copy of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

Abilene Artist Aaron Watson’s Self-Released Album Is #1 on the Country Chart

Right now the number one album on the country chart is called The Underdog. That’s a fitting name for Aaron Watson’s twelfth album, which the Abilene singer-songwriter self-released last week. Perhaps only in a culture as regimented as that of Nashville country music is a guy like Watson—a good-looking white fella with a big voice who likes to sing about loving God and America—truly an “underdog.” But in a world where Gary Overton, the CEO and chairman of Sony Music Nashville, recently declared that “if you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist,” the apparently nonexistent Watson, with his chart-topping album, definitely fits the bill.

Dallas Sportscaster Dale Hansen Is a Viral Sensation Again

Last year, WFAA sports reporter Dale Hansen became a viral video superstar after comments he made about Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the NFL draft (and to subsequently watch his stock plummet, seemingly as a result, leaving him to take his talents to Dancing With the Stars). 

Hansen’s comments about Sam were thoughtful, big-hearted, and incisive. But at least part of what made him an Internet sensation is that—frankly—we don’t expect that sort of thing from a guy who looks and sounds like Dale Hansen. White-haired, white-skinned sportscasters from Texas, good ol’ boys with jobs on the evening news, tend to be stereotyped as conservative and reactionary, and that made the impassioned statement that Hansen offered about Sam, and against homophobia and domestic violence, the definition of a man-bites-dog story. Hansen ended up on The Ellen Degeneres Show last February.

How Those Rumors About Dez Bryant Started

Let’s make one thing clear at the outset: nobody knows if this much-talked-about video of Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant doing something that could get him suspended from the NFL even exists. There are plenty of rumors, and there are people who claim to know what the video supposedly shows, but no member of the media has claimed to have actually seen said video. 

Yet over the past week, the story about the video that may or may not exist of Dez doing something horrible in a Dallas-area Walmart parking lot has gone from the sort of unsourced innuendo that gossip blogs like Terez Owens traffic in to something that reporters from mainstream outlets with league partnerships are openly talking about. Last Friday, on an appearance with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, the head of NBC’s ProFootballTalk, Mike Florio, decided to bring it up. Speaking about the Cowboys’ seeming reluctance to sign Bryant to a long-term contract, he said:

Richard Linklater Thinks You Should Be a Vegetarian

Richard Linklater told a very specific kind of Texas story over the past dozen years in Boyhood, but his interest in documenting a chunk of a lifetime on camera extends beyond his Best Picture-nominated film. And we’re not just talking about the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight series he’s filmed with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy every nine years since 1995 (we’re already camping out for tickets to Before Lunchtime in 2022!). No, the conceit behind a new PSA that Linklater made and stars in for PETA is that, every five years since he went vegetarian in 1985, he’s sat down in front of the camera to espouse the joys of the meat-free lifestyle.

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