Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Friday, February 29, 2008

Firing Sampson over allegations was unfair

The segment of the IU faithful who wanted Kelvin Sampson gone got their wish. Sampson was given $750,000 and told to leave Bloomington stemming from five alleged major recruiting violations that included making improper phone calls to recruits.

Resigned? Give me a break.

Despite published reports I think Sampson was forced out but it was sold to the masses as a resignation. He was canned because of allegations, not violations. The NCAA hadn’t found him guilty of anything up to this point. IU had until May 8th to make a final determination on Sampson’s fate but they couldn’t wait to act.

So much for due process.

Getting rid of someone who can win a Big-Ten title and make a run at the National Championship is beyond me, especially over some allegations.

In my opinion the administration found nothing that could be substantiated with facts. The IU hierarchy simply didn’t care for Sampson. That’s certainly not true of the players.

After struggling to beat a weak Northwestern team Eric Gordon summed up the feelings of him teammates by stating, “He wasn’t just like a coach. He was more like a father to us. We just miss him.”

At least somebody wanted Sampson around.

The players were angry their leader was forced out-many skipped a practice and planned to boycott the Northwestern game. They should have. Showing solidarity as a group would have sent a loud message to the administration.

When a deed is strong enough words are not necessary.

The players were told to remain silent by IU officials so they could put the finishing touches on Sampson’s ousting. The players make millions for the university due to their athletic prowess yet are silenced when wanting to express their collective concerns.

Hypocrisy.

On the court the players are embraced as young men yet treated like children at day-care when wanting to voice their displeasure over something that affects them.

IPFW’s mens basketball coach Dane Fife has been where the current IU players are. As a junior at IU he was the spokesperson after Brand fired Bobby Knight in 2000. With the General gone the team wanted to the assistant coaches retained and preferred to play for Mike Davis. When asked if the administration didn’t comply Fife stated, “If they don’t then IU won’t have a team next year and as everybody knows that could be costly.”

In regards to Knights dismissal he added, “We just totally feel that coach Knight has been treated really unfairly and I think we have to make that known. The administration wimped out.”

Fife and his crew got Mike Davis by standing tall and speaking up, not remaining silent while sitting down.

With Sampson gone the players wanted to play for Ray McCallum but told to settle for someone from the Knight tree in Dan Dakich. Had players voiced their collective concerns perhaps could have gotten McCallum instead of Dakich.

The greasy wheel gets the grease.

The IU administration has the authority do what they want but the players have power too.
The fans come to see the players play, not some middle-aged men sit in the stands.

I don’t think Sampson should have been let go over allegations. Sampson didn’t throw a chair across the court during a game, choke a player at practice, head butt someone on the bench, or kick his son during a timeout did he?

Yet after less than two years Sampson gets let go for some alleged phone calls?

Give me a break.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Obama is the real deal

Can Barack Obama really become president of the United States? Not only do I think it’s possible but it’s fast becoming a reality.

Obama is proving the naysayers wrong. Obama’s message of change he’s trumpheted throughout his campaign is being heard. With a strong showing in Super Tuesday and crushing Hilary Clinton last weekend I don’t think anyone can characterize Obama’s journey as a “fairy tale” ride.

Obama is a man with passion. His charisma is administering to the masses and they are responding with their votes. Obama’s message is resonating loud and clear. If Obama outlasts Clinton and wins the presidency to me it will be the most notable achievement in African American history.

I think Obama is the real deal.

Though Hillary Clinton is clutching to a slim lead over her rival Obama is currently riding a strong wave of momentum. Hillary is feeling the pressure. She recently pumped 5 million dollars of her own money in her campaign to keep pace with Obama. To top things off Clinton’s campaign manager resigned a day after Obama soundly defeated Clinton days ago.

Obama is creating an atmosphere in the African American community that’s inducing people too dream bigger than ever before. Obama’s presence on the political frontier has widened opportunities for mainstream success.

I think a small measure of Obama’s success can be attributed to the man who came first. Jesse Jackson was the first African American to run for president in 1984. Though he wasn’t a serious threat to win Jackson campaign opened the door of possibilty. Unlike Jackson, Obama is a serious threat to win.

Nearly 40 years have passed since King was slain yet his dream still lives. Martin Luther King’s dream called for social unity irrespective of skin color. If King was alive today I’m sure he’d be proud of Obama fighting to lead America because he’s keeping his vision alive.

Race has been an underlying theme throughout the Democratic race but not as much as I anticipated. In states that are vastly white Obama has won emerging victorious in states like Iowa, Utah, and Maine. To me that’s progress. Obama winning those states displays people are necessarily fixated on color but are simply want change.

Though remnants of his dream are manifesting there’s still much work to be done. Obama’s run at glory is wonderful but won’t promptly negate to the array of problems America has therefore I can’t get totally caught up in the euphoria of Obama’s feat just yet.

Racism and discrimination will not cease because of his presence yet it will open doors for closure.

Items such as publication education, unemployment, and lack of inclusion will still remain if Obama is elected. His political presence is a significant part of American history but it won’t eliminate racism nor halt discrimination yet it’s a pivotal step in the right direction.

True change can be ignited by leadership but enduring change is carried out by the people. That’s why I think Obama is the candidate who can best position America to enjoy and semblance of freedom, justice, and equality. He wants a better country for everyone and I think he’s the best person for the throne.

Obam’s chants for change are resonating loud and clear. If he’s fortunate enough to outlast Clinton and win the presidency to me it will be the most notable achievement in African American history. Obama has my vote for use because I think can best lead America.

True change can be ignited by leadership but for it to endure change it must come from us. That’s why I think Obama can best get America in the right path because he’s administering to the masses.


He wants a better country for us all.

He has my vote that’s for sure because I think Obama is the real deal.

Friday, February 1, 2008

More African Americans should become journalists

Terrence Moore, an African-American columnist at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, recently told the Associated Press: “One of the best-kept secrets in sports is how you have all these African-Americans playing sports, but so few African-Americans covering sports.”

Moore continued, “I’m generally one of the few-and many times, only-African-American in the press box. That has got to have a huge impact on how the news is presented.”
I thought that variety was supposed to be the spice of life, but the following numbers clearly indicate otherwise.

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida studied the racial makeup of the sports staffs at more than 300 newspapers in 2006. The study found that 94.7 percent of sports editors, 86.7 percent of assistant sports editors, 89.9 percent of sports columnists, 87.4 percent of sports reporters, and 89.7 percent of copy editors/designers are white.
In short, 92.8 percent of what we read in the sports pages is manufactured from a white vantage point.

The two daily Fort Wayne newspapers have similar percentages. Of the 89 employees at the Journal Gazette four are African American, about 4 percent. One African American is a features writer and another covers IU sports.

Of the 37 employees at the News Sentinel two are African American. That’s 5 percent. One is sports editor and the other is a designer.

Clearly a wide gap exists between the numbers of African Americans who play sports compared to those who cover sports.

Many African Americans neglect majoring in journalism in college because of lack of visible role models. They rarely see someone who looks like them in papers so their pursuits lie elsewhere.
That’s why it’s incumbent for more African Americans to be included. Here’s an example of how diversity could have worked if more African Americans were present.

Dave Seanor, the former Editor of Golfweek Magazine, was recently fired because he approved a controversial cover. The magazine was to run a story about Kelly Tilghman’s infamous Tiger should be “lynched” comment she made three weeks ago. The cover of the magazine had a large noose on it. According to Seanor the decision to run the cover was a joint effort.
Bad move. Seanor was sent packing.

If at least one conscious African American had been involved in the decision-making process Golfweek could have saved themselves a lot of embarrassment. If I were on staff I would have said, “Dave, don’t run it. Having a noose on the cover would be offensive and here’s why. …”
Hopefully Golfweek and others will think twice before they act.

The few African-American writers today rarely use their collective energies to affect change. Like the professional athlete, a universal commitment by writers to ignite change is absent.
This being Black History Month I want to thank a few writing pioneers. Their efforts produced opportunities for those who write today. I’m one of them.

In the 1940’s there was no internet or ESPN yet great African American writers Sam Lacy, Wendell Smith, and Joe Bostic utilized their collective platforms to help get Jackie Robinson in the Major Leagues. They used the might of their collective platforms and pens to speak out and ignite change.

I ask that you to find your craft, whatever it may be, and do your best work. That’s what I’ll continue to do until my casket drops.

All true change starts at the top. I challenge newspaper editors who hire to not only seek but embrace diversity-in the long run it represents an opportunity to learn in the workplace.
Despite what the percentages indicate, I firmly believe that variety is truly the spice of life.