Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ray Rice: Has the Media Destroyed Ray Rice’s Career?

Ray Rice was given his walking papers by the Baltimore Ravens after video released by TMZ showed Rice punching his wife Janay Rice in the elevator of an Atlantic City in February.

Soon after the incident Rice married his then fiancé, took his punishment in stride and began to move on with his life. Rice was set to serve a two-game suspension handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell but, amid the recent video, Goodell amended his verdict by suspending Rice indefinitely.

After watching the video several times over it’s unquestionably damning and revealing. Seeing Rice’s wife face down after being struck was alarming indeed. But were the Ravens and the NFL justified in stripping Rice of his ability to make a living as a result?

I find it hard to believe the recent video that just surfaced wasn’t already viewed by the NFL. The timing of its release doesn’t feel right nor does it pass the smell test in my opinion. Furthermore, I don’t believe Rice should be stripped of his ability to earn a living for an offense he’s already paid for privately, legally and publicly.

The media is the biggest culprit in this whole situation because it picks and chooses who to bring down. Let’s take the case of Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay. Here’s a billionaire owner who was under the influence of drugs, charged with a DWI and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. Irsay has had long battled the demons of alcohol and drugs yet he gets a pass from the media.

While Rice has been habitually battered by the media Irsay quietly has copped a plea and was suspended by the NFL for six games and fined $500,000. No revealing coverage-just a small segment on the ticker.

Why hasn’t the media persistently shown Irsay failing sobriety tests along side the road at 3a.m.?

Why hasn’t Irsay been shown on video being taken to jail on the regular?

In my opinion Irsay’s actions as an owner are more egregious than Rice’s as a player. Irsay is supposed to set a standard by leading a franchise, not abusing drugs and alcohol in the wee hours of the morning.

Yes, Rice struck his wife for all to see. A terrible thing but, does he maintain a history of abusing women like Irsay has in abusing drugs and alcohol?

Has Rice historically been a menace to society?

The media has long created an atmosphere of negativity around African-Americans for their transgressions yet often issue media passes to whites.

Remember Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisbergerand his alleged sexual assaults?

I do.

Roethlisberger was accused of multiple sexual assault charges—most recently in 2010 in Milledgeville, Georgia—yet the sports media kept the situation quiet. You have a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback providing alcohol to a 20-year old minor with allegations of sexual assault yet that wasn’t worthy of persistent coverage?

Interesting enough the surveillance video of the incident that took place on the night of March 4, 2010, which could have provided further insight as to what transpired, were somehow taped over.

No evidence, no crime.

Yet in Rice’s case the media kept digging until they found what they needed to help destroy this man’s family and career. No, the media didn’t strike Janay Rice across the face but it certainly has created the necessary atmosphere to strike her family down.

Why wasn’t the same level of persistence utilized by the media against Roethlisberger and Irsay?

The answer boils down to a lack of diversity in sports media and ignorance. When over 90, 80, 80 and 90 percent respectively of the sports editors, reporters, columnists and copy editors are white disseminated information will largely reflect the ideological framework of those providing coverage.

Allow me to be very clear direct here: I’m not excusing, diffusing nor justifying Rice’s actions here. What he did was wrong and I have no issue with him being punished. My issue is with the inconsistent media coverage African-Americans receive resulting from the lack of diversity in society and sports.

If we live in a society where senseless deaths like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown take place how can there be equitable administration of justice in sport without diversity?

How can former President Bill Clinton receive a pass for his “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinsky back in the day yet Tiger Woods can be persistently hammered by the media for his sexual transgressions?

How can the ilk of Lance Armstrong—who was found to be a fraud and a bully who duped the American people in the name of cancer—be issued a media pass but there’s still a segment of the country can’t stand Michael Vick for funding a gambling ring and torturing dogs?

How can George W. Bush be given a pass by the media for destroying the fabric of this country while current President Barack Obama continues to endure the wrath of racist rhetoric from a segment of the media contingent and society?

This shouldn’t be an issue of race but let’s face it folks, it is. For every Plaxico Burress, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Ray Lewis and Kobe Bryant being crucified by the media for their past transgressions whites like Ben Roethlisberger, Roger Clemens, Lance Armstrong, Jim Irsay, and Mark McGwire get passes. Whites, by way of the media, are allowed to comfortably ease into their premeditated obscurity while many African-Americans don’t have such a luxury.

In closing, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I have no issue the hammer being brought down on Rice for his actions so long as that same hammer being brought down consistently scrutinizes whites for their transgressions as well.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rashard Mendenhall, 9/11 and Freedom of Speech: Can We All Just Speak Our Minds?

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall's statements regarding the announcement that Osama Bin Laden was killed have come under fire.

From his Twitter account Mendenhall issued the following: "What kind of person celebrates death? It is amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."

Mendenhall then went on to express his thoughts on the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

Yesterday Mendenhall went into damage control.  I do not understand why.  I thought there was a thing called freedom of speech.

Well, I guess it exists for those in the majority.

Mendenhall issued the following yesterday to clarify what he we attempting to say.  He stated in his blog, “Nothing I said was meant to stir up controversy. It was my way to generate conversation.”

Mendenhall continues, “In looking at my timeline in its entirety, everything that I’ve said is with the intent of expressing a wide array of ideas and generating open and honest discussions, something I believe we as American citizens should be able to do. Most opinions will not be fully agreed upon and are not meant to be. However, I believe every opinion should be respected or at least given some thought.”

I will just get right to the point: I do not see anything wrong with what Mendenhall asserted on his Twitter account.  He is free to express himself the way he see fits. 

Mendenhall suggested he merely wanted to “generate conversation.”

Since when is that against the law?

Are people so rigid and programmed in their thinking it becomes impossible to consider a vantage that may be different than the majority?

Personally, I do not believe Mendenhall needed to clarify his statements or apologize.  I have grown weary of people who make statements who throw their rock but hide their hand. 

In my opinion, an individual should not apologize for something they truly believe in.  All men and women, while human, also have varied personalities and thoughts.  Mendenhall expressed a mode of thinking that is not in the majority view. 

Just because a view is to widely popular does not mean it is not worthy of critical discussion.

Does Mendenhall have the right to express his views even though they rival mainstream ideology?

I love the fact athletes who have a conscious to make their feelings known.  Just because you earn a lot of money, play professional sports and are a highly visible personality does not mean one has to subscribe to being docile and obedient.

Furthermore, what Mendenhall asserted was not necessarily controversial: He just stated something many have thought but were fearful of expressing in a public forum.

It is true that there is essentially one side of the story regarding what really transpired during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In my view, it is extremely plausible to assert how two world-class structures could fall so suddenly.  If everyone remembers, Tower No. 7 fell a short period after the Twin Towers crumbled to the ground, yet it was not struck by any planes. 

What is wrong with Mendenhall asserting his perception of what he feels happened or did not happen?

I have digested some commentary where Mendenhall should be traded like Santonio Holmes or he should issue a real apology for his unpatriotic stance.

Give me a break.

It is not Mendenhall’s issue whether the owner of the Steelers and President Obama are friends.

It is not Mendenhall’s issue whether so many people who reside in this country do not have the guts to assert what they really feel. 

Not everyone wants to be status quo and be politically correct: Some people have minds and the ability to analyze for themselves.

Instead of condemning Mendenhall for his position, people should look at his statements and simply ask one question: Does what he suggests have a level of credence?

That would indicate a level of understanding and extending beyond one’s cerebral comfort zone to consider another vantage point than the majority view. 

Since a segment of this country is so programmed and narrow-minded, they would much rather cling to the comfort of conformity rather than extend beyond their self-imposed boundaries and experience, which can be characterized as thinking freely.

Bottom line: Freedom of speech exists in this country, but apparently it's only protected for those who subscribe to the majority view.

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cam Newton Is No. 1 in Carolina's Panthers Book: Let the Scrutiny Begin

It’s a done deal. 

The Carolina Panthers selected Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick in this years NFLdraft.
Newton caps a tumultuous year off the field but a superlative one on it.

Off the field Newton was the subject of persistent media scrutiny as he guided the Auburn Tigers to the BCS National Championship and an undefeated season.

Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, was believed to have brokered a deal for his son to play-for-pay at Mississippi State before he eventually settled on attending Auburn.  The media obviously feasted on the story.

Newton was scrutinized for his questionable character flaws and his fathers’ actions.  The media talked about an incident when Newton was at University of Florida he allegedly stole a lap top.  He was also accused of academic fraud while at Florida.

Newton moved on from Florida and played Junior College football where he guided Blinn College to the Division II National Championship in 2009.

As the 2010 college football season began Newton was not on the radar for winning the Heisman Trophy let alone leading Auburn to a national championship.   As the season went on Newton shined.  But as his star continued to shine brightly throughout the season so did the media scrutiny.

Despite the persistent bashing from the media and the questions about his past Newton blocked out all of the negativity and focused on winning.

When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Newton’s name as the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft he became just the second player to win a national championship, the Heisman Trophy and be selected the top draft pick in a one-year span.  The first to do it was Notre Dame’s Leon Joseph Hart in 1950.

Now all Newton has to do is prove his critics wrong again by competing at the highest level and prove he belongs.

I’ve heard the likes of ESPN Todd McShay and others blast Newton.  McShay suggests he has physical talent yet lacks the intangibles to lead effectively in the NFL.  McShay has also suggested Newton’s work ethic may wane once he gets paid.

Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker did not receive such scrutiny from McShay.

I wonder why.

Anyway, Newton proved his doubters wrong before and I think he will do it again.

Some suggest the way Newton has been characterized in the media leading up to the draft was outright racist.  Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon suggested recently suggested the following regarding Newton: “A lot of the criticism he’s receiving is unfortunate and racially based,” Moon continued.  “I thought we were all past this.  I don’t see other quarterbacks in the draft being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony.  He’s being held to different standards from white quarterbacks.  I thought we were past all this stuff about African-American quarterbacks, but I guess we’re not.”

What Moon suggested about Newton being scrutinized due to race is true in my opinion yet I don’t think it is quite as blatant as in the past.

History reveals there was once a time African-American quarterbacks out of college were not given opportunities to play quarterback in the NFL.  Simply put they were believed to be mentally inferior to whites.

Historically such ignorance has lead many African-American quarterbacks to be switched to other positions.  This ultimately reinforces the negative stereotype African-Americans are great athletes but don’t fare well in the ultimate thinking position of quarterback in the NFL.

Let’s look at the facts: Newton is a winner who plays a brand of football that’s not the prototypical style of play.  Without question Newton has both the physical and mental capability to be a franchise quarterback and revolutionize the position.

He can be characterized as a bigger stronger Michael Vick with notable power.

While the likes of McShay and other haters will continue to scrutinize Newton’s ability I’m quite sure he’ll continue to prove his doubters wrong despite the criticism.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cincinnati Bengals: Why Is Carson Palmer Getting a Media Pass?

Why is Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is getting the royal treatment from the media?

The embattled quarterback has consistently harped he wants out of Cincinnati.  Palmer has stated if he’s not traded he’ll simply retire.

Where’s the media outcry?

Why is the story flying so far under the radar?

I will give you part of the reason: Palmer’s trade demands are not deemed serious news due to the current media composition.

According the Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports, 94, 88, and 89 percent respectively of the sports editors, columnists, and reporters are white.

African-Americans account for 1, 6, and 8 percent respectively of the sports editors, columnists, and reporters in sports media.

African-Americans account for 68 percent of the players in the NFL.

Facts indicate the vast majority of the sports coverage we digest comes from a white vantage point.
Clearly there is a glaring disparity between the number of African-Americans covering the NFL and those who play the game.

Point blank, if Carson Palmer were African-American I’d venture to say he’d be scrutinized more in the media.

Late last year a Q-Score rating was issued which measured the most disliked athletes in sports.  The top six most hated athletes on the list were African-American.

Palmer’s teammates Chad Ochochinco and Terrell Owens were voted in the top six.

If either Ochocinco or Owens were demanding trades do you think the story would be covered more persistently than what Palmer has experienced up to this point?

Based on Palmer’s performance last year I don’t think he’s in a position to demand anything.  Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble but Palmer is not a top-flight quarterback in the NFL.  Ever since he made the Pro-Bowl in 2005-2006, Palmer’s quarterback rating has plummeted.

The past six seasons Palmer’s passer rating is as follows:

2005: 101.1
2006.  93.1
2007.  86.7
2008.  69.0
2009.  83.6
2010.  82.4

Palmer missed 12 games of 2008 season due to a knee injury but I don’t think the injury has anything to do with his current erratic play.

I believe part of the reason Palmer’s trade demands have flown under the radar is because he belongs to a distinct and privileged fraternity in the NFL: He’s a white quarterback in the NFL.  Based on past precedence, they evade criticism when it is richly deserved.

Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger are the poster-boys for being placed in the media’s witness protection program.

Favre was alleged to have sent inappropriate texts to Jenn Sterger while he was a New York Jet.  There was some talk Favre would be in hot water, but I knew better.  Turns out Commissioner Roger Goodell slapped the Golden Boy on the rear, fined him $50,000 and told him to enjoy his retirement.

Roethlisberger missed four games this past season for violating the personal conduct code.  He was accused of assaulting a 20-year-old co-ed in Milledgeville, Georgia just over a year ago.

Once the dust settled, the media gave Roethlisberger the space he needed to play football and work his PR campaign.  He did not have to worry about being asked tough questions—particularly at Media Day at this years’ Super Bowl—because he was protected by the lily-white media and his celebrity status.

Interesting how Michael Vick is still scrutinized to this day for a debt to society he paid two years ago.  Unlike Favre and Roethlisberger, Vick has consistently faced the media piper and answered tough questions.

If Vick had a season like Palmer and asked out of Philadelphia, you think he’d receive more media coverage than Palmer?

Palmer—a self-proclaimed elite quarterback who hasn’t showed any glimpses he belongs on that tier—is being protected by the media even though he has not demonstrated he belongs in the elite club.

Ochocinco has consistently been labeled an agitator who seeks the limelight.  He’s been portrayed as a loud-mouth who can be a distraction to team chemistry.

Sound familiar?

Rest assured, if Ochocinco had been kicking and screaming this off-season about a trade there would be media rumblings with nation-wide headlines.

Ochocinco recently stated the following via his Twitter account: “I love the media, I want out few years back im disgruntled n a distraction, I was sick of losing, Carson is tired of losing its still my fault?”

Ochocinco continued, "Carson Palmer demands a trade? Last person demanded a trade in Cincy was crucified by the media n had to win the fans back, how will this go?"

Then there’s Owens.  Owens has been labeled much of his career as being a cancer to the locker-room.  More notably he’s been accused of feuding with his quarterbacks and creating unnecessary friction.

If Owens had vocally blasted the Bengals organization and asked for a trade you think he would receive more negative media coverage than Palmer?

Apparently the double-standard extends to the head coach Marvin Lewis as well.  When asked about Ochocinco’s recent rendezvous, Lewis stated, “What has he ever done that he’s completed? What circle has he connected in any way?”

I have no issue with the latter, but why hasn’t Lewis ridiculed Palmer in public for his erratic play but is quick to pull the trigger on Ochocinco?

I don’t agree with some of Ochocinco’s antics but this time I totally understand his viewpoint.  Years ago when Ochocinco wanted out of Cincinnati the media feasted on the coverage.  Now that Palmer has issued the same proclamation this story continues to go unnoticed.

Perhaps if the media was more diverse there would be more balanced coverage.

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Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant Fined for Slur, but There's a Bigger Issue Here

NBA Commissioner David Stern did not waste any time in levying a fine against Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant for uttering the slur “f**king fa**ot” to a referee during a Tuesday night contest against the San Antonio Spurs.

Bryant suggested he meant no ill-will towards the referee. He was just frustrated and meant no harm.
“What I said last night should not be taken literally," said Bryant on Wednesday. "My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period.”

Bryant added, "The words expressed do not reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were not meant to offend anyone.”

The Human Rights Campaign begs to differ. They feel Bryant’s poor choice of words creates an atmosphere for bigotry to fester, as does the commissioner.

According to, Stern suggested such derogatory statements have no place in sports or society. “Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society."

President of the Human Rights Campaign Joe Solmonese concurred with Stern’s swift action: "We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large."

Solmonese continued, "We hope such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable no matter what the context."

Bryant spoke with Solmonese and issued an apology prior to yesterday’s season finale against the Sacramento Kings. Said Solmonese, "We had a very sincere conversation in which he expressed his heartfelt regret for the hurt that his words caused. He told me that it's never okay to degrade or tease, and that he understands how his words could unfortunately give the wrong impression that this is appropriate conduct. At the end of a difficult day, I applaud Kobe for coming forward and taking responsibility for his actions."

I agree with anyone who believes derogatory slurs should not be tolerated. On a personal level I’ve experienced some of the worst racial slurs ever hurled at a person. I continue to champion justice whether the insults are leveled directly at me or at others.

The show must go on.

I don’t have a serious issue with the fine levied. It’s not like $100,000 will force him into bankruptcy.
I think there’s a bigger issue many are overlooking: the need for athletes—particularly African American athletes—to speak out against social inequities in American sport and society, whether it directly affects them or not.

Speaking out will ignite both awareness of and dialogue concerning so-called controversial issues, and can ultimately serve as a catalyst for change. Marquee athletes have the ear of the media and the eyes of the public.

Doesn’t it make sense to use one's platform for something other than self-gratification? Most African American athletes keep their mouths shut unless turmoil visits their own doorstep.

Why wasn’t Bryant speaking out during the 2008 Olympic Games in China?

At the time over 500,000 Muslim Africans were being slaughtered by their Christian countrymen in Darfur, Sudan. China was supplying weapons to the Sudanese government, which were used to murder innocent Africans.

Where was the protest by the athletes?

In 2007 LeBron James was asked by a teammate sign a petition against the genocide taking place in Darfur. He refused, suggesting he needed more time to investigate the matter.

A year wasn’t enough?

James, like Bryant, participated in the 2008 Olympic Games and didn’t utter one word about China's involvement with the massacre taking place.

Last summer James held his famous “Decision” for all to see. After he was thoroughly roasted by a segment of the media and fans his mainstream popularity took a hit.

In an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien last year James was asked if race played a factor in his media portrayal. “I think so, at times,” he said. “There’s always a race factor.”

I totally agree race was a factor, but that’s not the point. James cried race when it directly effected him, yet he's not uttered a word in defense of its other targets.

Where were the African American athletes when Donovan McNabb was subject to racist bashing on ESPN by the conservative Rush Limbaugh in 2004?

Where was Bryant when Don Imus referred to several female basketball players as “nappy headed ho’s" in 2007?

Where was King James in 2008 when Golf Channel announcer Kelly Tilghman suggested players on the PGA Tour should take Tiger Woods and “lynch him in a back alley” to curtail his dominance?

The lack of diversity in the media ensures that the vast majority of information disseminated is manufactured by white males. So long as the media has lily-white vantage points on subject matter such as racism, sexism and gender, inequality will go vastly underreported.

According to The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports, 94, 88 and 89 of American sports editors, columnists and reporters respectively are white. Meanwhile, African-Americans account for 1, 6 and 8 respectively in the same positions.

Can anyone say "lack of diversity"?

We could experience a level of coverage that better reflects sports culture if publications, radio and television truly embraced diversity.

Slice the pie any way you like, but if the NBA is 80 percent African American there is a serious problem when just six percent of columnists covering it are African American and 88 percent are white.

Bottom line, we live in a society where many people both in and outside of sports opt for silence when noise is what's needed. Simultaneously, news outlets gloss over their need to diversify and remain vastly white.

What Bryant said was wrong, even though it was in the heat of the moment. But I think it would be great if the likes of Bryant utilized their platforms for more than self-gratification and personal gain.

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