Meatball’s Lawyer Blasts Media Over Philly Looting Coverage

Meanwhile, $35 Meatball mugshot shirts. Plus, a cheesesteak martini?!

a "Free Meatball" t-shirt showing the mugshot of Meatball aka Dayjia Blackwell. Police arrested for looting in Philadelphia last week.

A $35 “Free Meatball” t-shirt showing the mugshot of Meatball aka Dayjia Blackwell. Police arrested her for looting in Philadelphia last week. (photo via @dayjiamainpage)

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Meatball’s Lawyer Blasts Media Over Looting Coverage

The Philadelphia story that went viral last week was not the shocking-to-many decision of a Philly judge to throw out charges against the cop who shot and killed Eddie Irizarry, who was sitting in his car at the time of his death — not outside the car, lunging at the cops, as police originally said. The local news that was heard all around the country many times over was the looting in Philadelphia. And, more to the point, the looting arrest of 21-year-old Philadelphia influencer Dayjia Blackwell, known to her fans (of which she has several hundred thousand) as Meatball.

Meatball is the woman who broadcasted live from the looting, encouraging her fans to come down and loot some more. After her arrest, some in the social media and regular ol’ media spheres immediately saw her mugshot — her hair a mess, tears rolling down her cheeks — and used it as an opportunity to mock Meatball.

Well, Meatball, who is currently out on bail, now has herself a lawyer. That lawyer is Jessica Mann of South Philly’s Law Offices of Shaka Johnson. And Mann took to Instagram over the weekend to rip the media a new one over its treatment of Meatball and her arrest.

Here’s what Mann had to say:

I write this open letter with a profound sense of outrage and frustration over the unjust portrayal of my client, Dayjia Blackwell. It sickens me to witness the media’s complicity in what can only be described as an all-out assault on black and brown people, as their character and actions are mercilessly vilified. We cannot afford to disregard this insidious injustice.

Dayjia Blackwell, a vibrant and charismatic 21-year-old African-American female, was catapulted into the limelight through her incredible talent for creating hilarious and captivating content on social media. With her infectious energy and boundless creativity, Dayjia has captured the hearts of thousands, leaving a trail of laughter and joy in her wake.

Her videos, filled with silly skits and uproarious pranks, showcase her unique ability to bring smiles to the faces of all who encounter her work. Dayjia’s infectious enthusiasm knows no bounds, and she fearlessly dives into each performance with an unwavering commitment to entertain and uplift her audience. Still, this person described above does not garner clicks on your websites, so you post her mugshot with tears streaming down her face and her hair a mess to satisfy your need to get “clicks” and to sell a salacious story.

However, the rightful story should be one of Dayjia doing nothing more than capturing the raw reality of public outrage when she streamed the events that occurred on the night of September 26, 2023, in Philadelphia. Yet, the media seems to have forgotten the underlying catalyst for her actions. It was the dismissal of all charges against Police Officer Mark Dial, who callously murdered Eddie Irizarry. Then, the Philadelphia Police Department, with lies and deceit, attempted to cover up the heinous act. More heartbreaking was the gross dereliction of duty by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Municipal Court of Philadelphia County.

How can we, as a society, now allow the powers that be to distort the truth? How can we stand idly by as they continue to paint Dayjia as the perpetrator when she was merely holding up a mirror to Philadelphia so that it could see its ugly reflection?

The city has repeatedly insisted that the looting in Philadelphia had nothing to do with the protest earlier that night over Irizarry’s death. But maybe it’s not so cut and dry in one direction or the other. Here’s Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong with a slightly more nuanced take.

Meanwhile, Meatball posted her mugshot to her own Instagram page. She later posted a sketch of said mugshot. And now? As I predicted last week, Meatball is selling Meatball mugshot t-shirts for $35 a pop.

And the Nobel Goes To…

The two local scientists whose groundbreaking research into mRNA eventually led to our ability to develop a COVID vaccine. Congrats!

Anti-Arena Activists Take to the Skies

As seen above Lincoln Financial Field before the Eagles took on the Commanders:

Photo courtesy the Save Chinatown Coalition

Josh Harris being the owner of the Commanders and the Sixers (and the New Jersey Devils). He’s one of the guys behind the controversial new Sixers arena.

Not Every New Idea Is a Good Idea

“Nobody’s ever done this before.” That’s what the guy who just came up with the cheesesteak martini (yes, you read that right: cheesesteak martini) told Philly food writer Jenn Ladd of his creation. Maybe there’s a good reason why nobody’s ever done this before! In any event, I actually take less issue with the cheesesteak martini itself than I do with Ladd’s suggestion that a purist martini is vodka-based and also free of vermouth, both things that are wholly untrue.

Local Talent

Last month, I told you about Masterman/CAPA alum Leslie Odom Jr. of Hamilton fame and his return to Broadway with Purlie Victorious. (You can read the full interview here.) And now, the reviews are in. And they are glowing! Check them out in the New York Times, Variety, and The Washington Post.

By the Numbers

5: Consecutive days this week in the 70s and 80s.

1.5 miles: Stretch of Lincoln Drive to get “traffic calming” measures that include rumble strips and speed tables.

29: Days left on current SEPTA worker contracts. Members just voted to authorize a strike.

And from the Teeth-and-Skin Sports Desk …

On Sunday at the Linc, the Commanders took possession first and drove down the field too easily behind QB Sam Howell, for a 7-0 lead. The Eagles took a while to get going on their subsequent downs, but D’Andre Swift running through a big hole finished it off to tie the score. Running back Antonio Gibson was having a field day with our D, and so was wide receiver Terry McLaurin. And a late hit by Terrell Edmunds on a reception at the five was trouble, but Edmunds damn near intercepted on the next play. After the Redskins fumbled the ball just short of the end zone, McLaurin recovered it in the ensuing melee for a second TD.

Jalen Hurts employed the newly christened “Brotherly Shove” on the next drive. But the refs whacked Landon Dickerson with his second penalty. The Eagles had to punt. The two teams traded possessions and sacks, and Howell hit Dyami Brown for a 35-yarder with four minutes left in the half that put them at the 20. Another pass, and a flag at the goal line — pass interference on James Bradberry. The penalties were killing us. Thank God for a Josh Sweat sack; they were held to a field goal with a minute and a half to go. The Birds worked it down to a fourth and one — and didn’t pull the push! They got the first, DeVonta Smith caught a miracle pass — though Washington demanded a review — and we were on the 26 with 20 seconds to go. A Jake Elliott field goal left it at 17-10 at the half.

A big catch by A.J. Brown on the Eagles’ first drive in the third quarter took us to the 40, and what looked like a disastrous Commanders interception was ruled an incomplete pass, bringing on another Elliott field goal. Darius Slay was hit with an utterly bullshit pass-interference call on the Commanders’ next drive, but a timely Fletcher Cox shove brought on fourth down, and they had to punt. For one wild moment, it looked like Smith would break free from halfway, but he was stopped. A play later, though, Brown caught a beauty and ran it all the way, like the pro he is. Oh God, flag in the backfield – but it was on them, for roughing Jalen. Touchdown and the lead, and the two-pointer: 21-17!

Bradberry redeemed himself with a terrific breakup of a pass on the next D.C. drive, and Nick Morrow nabbed his second sack. A big Kenny Gainwell run, a great Dallas Goedert catch, a Hurts sideline tackle of the lady official, a D’Andre Swift run, a catch by A.J. Brown and his pink shoes broken up via pass interference, a fumble recovered by Lane Johnson, and all we got was another field goal. Washington answered with a TD four minutes into the fourth. The Eagles held them and took over on downs, and a Olamide Zaccheaus reception got us a first down at the two-minute warning. A brilliant Hurts pass to A.J. Brown in the end zone put the Birds up:

Brown was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the catch stood, and the point-after was good: 31-24 with a minute-plus to go. With the Commanders on the move, Morrow got his third sack of the day, leaving them second-and-17. They got the first — oh God, and they got the TD, to Jahan Dotson in the end zone. Tied.

Big drama on the Commanders’ overtime drive — was McLaurin out of bounds on that third-down catch or not? He was, the review ruled, and the crowd went wild. After the punt, the Birds took over at the 42 for the sudden-death drive. On a fourth-and-long-one, they employed that ol’ Brotherly Shove and got the first at midfield. Swift ran through a thicket for another first down, but Hurts was (wrongly) called for intentional grounding on a pass into the end zone, and the ball moved back to the 45. And a long Elliott field goal sealed it: 34-31. Way to make us sweat, guys.

Meantime, in Phil-Ville …

The Phillies made up for Friday’s rain-out with a Saturday doubleheader vs. Mets, with Taijuan Walker pitching for us. The Mets went up 1-0 in the first, and by the end of the second, they were up 4-0. Meantime, Tylor Megill went six shutout innings for them. The Phils got one back in the eighth and two more in the ninth, but that was all they could do: a 4-3 loss.

In the second game, with Michael Plassmeyer pitching against José Quintana, the Mets got out to a 3-0 lead in the second — uh-oh! — thanks to a Francisco Alvarez two-run homer. That lead went to 4-0 in the third when Cristian Pache muffed an outfield double by Ronny Mauricio after Rafael Ortega singled, and it was déjà vu all over again. Plassmeyer, who’d just been called up, hit Pete Alonso with a pitch, then hit Francisco Lindor with another to load them up. Well, it wasn’t Red October yet. But Plassmeyer managed to get two outs — before Alvarez mashed a grand slam. Oh hell, 8-0? Dude had six RBIs in the third.

In the fourth, Pache atoned with a base hit after Garrett Stubbs reached first on an error and Johan Rojas singled: 8-1. A Kyle Schwarber homer — his 47th on the year — took it to 8-4, but Plassmeyer stayed in for the bottom half and served up a two-run Lindor homer. In the fifth, Orion Kerkering gave out a walk, a single on an error by Weston Wilson at first, and a single that scored another run. José Alvarado was fine in the sixth; so were Kimbrel in the seventh, with three straight strikeouts, and Cristopher Sánchez in the ninth. The offense simply wasn’t there, though. Final: 11-4.

José Butto started Sunday for the Mets, while Matt Strahm took the mound for the Phils, though not for long. Just-called-up Nick Nelson took over in the second, and the Phils got a run in the third on a Stubbs walk and steal and a Stott single. The Mets tied it in their half with a Timmy Locastro solo homer, but the Phils got a Bohm-er to lead off the sixth, and in the eighth, against Denyi Reyes, they evidently decided to go out with a bang.

They made it 3-1 on a Wilson single, a Stott double and a Marsh single, then in the ninth got a Jake Cave walk, a Rojas triple, Stubbs and Pache singles, a Stott walk, a Bohm sac fly, and a three-run Marsh homer: 9-1! Way to go out in style, Phils! Just to put the cherry on top, Lorenzen pitched the one-two-three bottom of the ninth. And the Tuesday matchup is set!

While in Doop News …

The Union played a fairly frantic game against the Columbus Crew in an away match on Saturday, with Andre Blake coming up a hero again and again in the first half. At the start, Columbus sat one rung below the Union in the standings. The Union went with a youth lineup, as José Martínez and Jakob Glesnes were still out with injuries.

There was no score at the half, and Jim Curtin sent in veterans Julián Carranza, Mikael Uhre and Dániel Gazdag in for Quinn Sullivan, Chris Donovan and Alejandro Bedoya. Nathan Harriel finally headed one in for the U in the 49th, off a corner kick by Kai Wagner.

The team put together another terrific drive in the 64th minute, but the goal scorer, Carranza, was ruled offsides. He had a great shot a minute later, but it barely went high, and a defender who’d pulled him down before the shot earned a yellow card. The tenor, though, had clearly changed. Jack Elliott was called for a foul that led to a free kick just outside the box, and Elliott deflected that but was called for a hand ball: penalty kick. Cucho Hernández scored on the PK, and it was all tied up.

The Crew then put together a flurry in front of the net, and Wagner came out with cramps for Matt Real. But it all ended in a 1-1 draw — the fifth tie in a row for the Union.

The Flyers also played. Pre-season, so even less interesting than usual.

On the College Gridiron?

Ursinus lost to Muhlenberg, 28-20; Dartmouth just got by the Penn Quakers, 23-20, in overtime; and Villanova lost to the Albany Great Danes, 31-10. If you care, Penn State beat Northwestern, 41-13.

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.