Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday Night Football: The Ravens shutout the lowly Browns


CLEVELAND – The team, formerly known as the Cleveland Browns (Baltimore Ravens), marched into their old city and claimed a victory over the current Cleveland Browns. Starting quarterback Brady Quinn over Derek Anderson didn’t help the anemic offense as the Browns were shut out 16-0.

The Cleveland defense played solid but the offense stunk. I could barely stand to watch. The Browns have scored just five offensive touchdowns this season. That’s horrific.

In the press conference Browns head coach Eric Mangini had this to say when asked about the offense: I’ve tried a lot of different things and obviously it’s not been successful enough. We’re going to have to keep trying things until we get to the point where we need to be.”

Quinn didn’t try throw downfield at all. Was anything over a ten yard pass off limits for Quinn? Sure looked that way to me but Mangini suggests, “It’s not like we were avoiding that part of the field.”

What game was Mangini watching?

The first half was like watching grass grow. Both teams couldn’t move the ball.

In the second half the Ravens got the offense and defense rolling. It wasn’t pretty but a wins a win. Raven quarterback Joe Flacco said, “It was an ugly win, but that’s the way some wins are in the NFL.”

The 1-8 Browns wish they could get a win ugly or otherwise. Truthfully the Browns were doomed before this season began. I must digress.

Wide receiver Donte Stallworth decided to whop-it-up in Miami Beach this summer and sadly killed a man while driving intoxicated.

Kellen Winslow Jr. was traded for essentially being too outspoken.

Romeo Crennel was fired after posting a 4-12 mark last season. Eric Mangini was hired to restore order but his team sports a woeful 1-8 record. Guess his tough-guy tactics aren’t working.

Then last month Braylon Edwards misbehaved himself out of Cleveland by picking on LeBron James’ friend who is half of Edwards’ size. The Browns were forced to ship him to the New York Jets.

Then the Browns recently fired the General Manager George Kokinis. Pretty rare that happens during the season.

Wait, there’s more. Browns owner Randy Lerner recently met with disgruntled fans to talk about the state of the franchise.

Are you kidding me?

Talking to fans about running a team is a classic case of the blind leading the blind.
The level of dysfunction with the Browns organization is off the charts.

Largely professional franchises are privately owned but are publicly subsidized. The fans should have a voice. But the best you way you communicate with fans are to win games.

One of the major problems with professional sports, and more specifically the Cleveland Browns, is ownership and upper-management know squat about the intricacies of sports management. Lerner and his cronies understand profit and loss sheets but seemingly lack the capabilities to run the franchise.

The Cleveland Browns haven’t been champions since Jim Brown led then to the title over the Baltimore Colts in 1964. The way the Browns franchise is being handled the drought is likely to continue.

The Browns need a complete overhaul. They need players that can play. The front office, the coaching staff and the players must share a common goal and rally around it. Success breeds loyalty.

Speaking of loyalty, did the Browns organization give up on Romeo Crennel too soon?

Typically when franchises make changes they hope to upgrade the franchise.
Was Mangini truly an upgrade over Crennel?

Looking at the woeful Browns tonight I’d have to say no.

Crennel was perceived as a softy who let the players get away with too much. He posted a 4-12 record last year granted but did he really get a fair shake? In 2007 Crennel was 10-6. It boils down to this: is Mangini doing a better job then the guy he replaced?

Crennel was fired too early. In most cases a white coach in Crennels’ situation last year would be more likely to get the benefit of the doubt. Crennel will not likely get recycled anytime soon like many of his white coaching brethren.

Luckily the Cincinnati Bengals got it right. Marvin Lewis suffered through a 4-11-1 record last season. There were rumblings Lewis would be canned in the off-season but the organization stuck with him. Now his team sits atop their division.

Lewis is clearly the exception, not the rule. For every Marvin Lewis who gets the rare benefit of the doubt there’s Ray Rhodes, Art Shell, and Dennis Greens who get the hook too soon and rarely recycled.

So what's the answer in Cleveland?

Hire competent front-office personnel that will be a reflection of the coaching staff and ultimately the players.

Get a real General Manager then fire Eric Mangini. Get a coach who has respect amongst his peers. Get Bill Cowher off the set at CBS. He's won a Super Bowl.

Next, get a quarterback. Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn integrated together won’t give you "one" solid quarterback. Trade Anderson and Quinn and sign a veteran.

Bottom line: if something isn't done quickly the Cleveland Browns will continue to be the laughing stock of the NFL for years to come.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Did former New Orleans Hornets coach Byron Scott get fired because of race?


Byron Scott has been fired as head coach of the New Orleans Hornets. Yeah, I’m shaking my head too.

One of the first things that popped into my mind was who was going to replace Scott. Enter New Orleans Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower.

You know who he is right? Bower use to be the head coach at.

Oops, sorry.

Bower has never been a head coach in the NBA. Is Bower really the right man for the job?

Please.

This move makes absolutely no sense. The Hornets fire a man who has rings on his fingers as a player and two NBA Finals appearances with the New Jersey Nets as a coach. Scott gets canned at the beginning of the season for a guy who has never coached?

Scott was Coach-of-the-Year during the 2007-2008 campaign. He nearly took the Hornets to the Western Conference Finals. Last year the Hornets lost to Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

It’s hard to understand why the team decided to part ways after a 3-6 start. The season just got under way. Why make a change so early?

Here it is from the horses mouth Bower himself: “As we look at our long-term coaching plans, it’s not about who the head coach is, it’s about the role of the head coach to get the team to perform to their capabilities and reaching our potential this season.”

What can someone like Bower, who has never been a head coach in the NBA, going to do that Scott hasn’t done as a player and a coach?

Typically when franchises make a change usually one strives to get someone equal to or better than the guy you’re letting go. How can anyone logically argue Bower gives this team the best chance to win over Scott?

Bottom line: it’s Bowers’ fault the team has started slowly not Scott. Scott didn’t decide to trade versatile Tyson Chandler in favor of Emeka Okafor. Scott isn’t the reason why an aging Pedja Stojakavic is a shell of himself. It was Bower who made these moves. In essence, Bower gets rid of Scott as a way off covering up for his mistakes.

Does this firing have racial undertones?


It seems African American coaches often get a shorter leash than their white counterparts. Scotts’ firing reminds me of Avery Johnson. Johnson took over for Don Nelson full-time back in 2004-2005 campaign as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. In 3 ½ years Johnson compiled a career record of 194-70 which equates to a winning percentage of .735. After a 51-31 record he gets run out of town.

In the 2006-2007 campaign Johnson led the Mavericks to a 67-15 record.

After firing Johnson the Mavericks turned to Rick Carlisle. His career record is 331-243 which equates to a .577 winning percentage. Carlisle went 50-32 last season.

Statistics tell the story and facts don’t lie.

Numbers indicate Carlisle isn’t doing a better job than the guy he replaced. Facts indicate there was something shady regarding the firings of Johnson and Scott.

Cut the cards as you wish, but race played a factor in why Scott was fired and why Johnson can’t get rehired.

To add insult to injury the Hornets also hired the much traveled and troubled Tim Floyd. Floyd coached the Hornets to a 41-41 record back in 2003. That’s not setting the world on fire yet, he seems to be primed for another return as the head man.

Both Bower and Floyd together don’t make half the coach Scott is.

Hornets owner George Shinn needs to get a clue. Owners like Shinn are the preeminent example of what’s wrong with sports. There are too many owners who know little about the intricacies of sports. They are businessmen who treat their teams as toys rather than really trying to run them.

Such lunacy results in making boneheaded decisions like letting a former championship player and bona fide coach like Byron Scott walk free.

I guess it’s not about the right man for the job. It’s about having the white man for the job.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Notre Dame loss to Pitt puts another nail in Charlie Weis’ coffin


When Weis was introduced as Notre Dames’ head coach five years ago at his press conference he suggested, “Well, guess what folks you are a 6-5 football team and that’s not good enough.”

Before the Pittsburgh game Weis was on life support. After dropping another game to a ranked opponent it seems the time is nearing to pull the plug on the Charlie Weis era at Notre Dame.

Weis’ record stands at 6-4 after losing to Navy last week and Pittsburgh today 27-22. The Panthers outplayed the Irish and rightfully so because they were simply a better team.

Weis came into this season with a schedule weak as water. The Irish had high hopes in trying to restore the once proud tradition at Notre Dame. Instead the season has been an utter debacle.

What’s going to be the excuse for keeping Weis now?

Costs too much to fire him?

He’s a great recruiter?

He just needs more time?

Sorry Charlie. Those excuses are old now. It’s about winning. All other things are secondary at this point. The time has come to pull the plug on the Charlie Weis era.

Weis should’ve been canned two seasons ago when he posted a 3-9 record. When Weis took the Irish job he stated 6-5 wasn’t good enough. Of course that was Tyrone Willingham’s record after his third season.

Well, if 6-5 wasn’t good enough for Willingham how the hell was 3-9 sufficient enough for Weis to keep his job?

Weis had some success his first two years because he inherited some talent, particularly on the offensive side of the ball from the Willingham regime. Willingham’s guys got Weis two BCS appearances.

Has Weis’ blue-chip recruits produced?

Much has been made of Weis’ recruiting. The talk is he does a great job of getting talent. Guess what folks. Weis has done a piss-poor job of getting that talent to produce. Without question Weis’ guys have severely underachieved.

Weis’ “schematic advantage” he professed to have over teams has never manifested and it never will. Talk is cheap. People are about results and Weis has not delivered the goods.

In an odd sense this is divine justice come late. Say as you wish but Willingham was ousted prematurely and unfairly. There’s no logical way anyone can argue Weis is doing a better job than the guy he replaced. It can logically asserted Weis is doing a worse job than Willingham.

When Willingham was hired he was the first African American head coach of any team in Notre Dames’ history. He was also the fastest head coach fired. Race played a factor in why Willingham was fired and why Weis has yet to be fired.

For those of you who suggest I’m stirring the race pot I’m not. I’m calling it like I see it. Until Weis is fired I will continue to raise the Willingham issue because it wasn’t talked about enough when it transpired and it set the precedent for where Notre Dame is today with Weis.

If race didn’t factor in Willingham’s firing how can you explain why Weis got the benefit of the doubt after going 3-9 while Willingham was fired at 6-5 after three years?

Did Willingham lose to Navy twice?

Did Willingham ever post a 3-9 record?

Did Willingham’s players ever have snowballs thrown at them like Weis’ team after they lost to Syracuse at home last season?

Case closed.

Weis doesn’t have one signature victory he can point to suggest his team had done anything worthwhile under his leadership. Weis’ loss to Pittsburgh proves his squad simply can’t beat anyone ranked.

The remedy is as follows: fire Weis and get a real coach. He wasn’t qualified for the job to begin with. Weis isn’t a true leader. Get someone with experience that has a proven track record of producing wins. He was a side-kick at New England.

Weis is not Batman, he’s Robin.

When Weis took the job he suggested a 6-5 record was “not good enough” for Notre Dame. Well, looks like his 6-4 won’t be either. Each loss merely represents another nail in Weis’ coffin.

Without question Weis is on life support. At seasons end the only dignified thing the Irish administration can do is pay Weis to leave.

Cut the cord on the Charlie Weis era please.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tennis: Melanie Oudin calls out Williams’ sisters, US loses Fed Cup to Italy


The US team lost in the Fed Cup final 3-0 to the Italian team. Venus and Serena Williams decided not to participate.

Young American Melanie Oudin surely wanted to represent her country though. Oudin, who lost to Flavia Pannetta which gave the Italians an insurmountable lead of 3-0 in a best-of-five series stated: “I wanted to come here. I wanted to play for my country. Other people choose different things.”

Oudin continued, “Some people I guess didn’t want to play as badly as I did. But I think that the team that we had here really wanted to be here,” Oudin said. “You don’t want people here that don’t want to be here. Even if you lose, if you give it everything you have, then that’s the best you can do.”

Who is Oudin referencing when she states, “you don’t want people here that don’t want to be here?”

Without question Oudin is referencing the Williams’ sisters. Perhaps if Oudin was winning Grand Slams, was No. 1 in the world and representing her country her words would have more sting and validation.

Oudin made an impressive and surprising run at the US Open. She made it all the way to the quarterfinals. Some have anointed Oudin as being the next big thing in American tennis. Time will tell, but here are my thoughts.

Going back to the US Open, I can remember during Oudins’ impressive run that everyone got very excited that an-up-and coming “American” was doing so well. I can distinctly recall tennis analyst John McEnroe stating on two occasions that Oudin was “the last American standing” in the tournament.

When McEnroe made his statement Serena Williams was still very much alive in the tournament. Isn’t Serena an American?

McEnore’s statement demonstrated how a segment of white America views Serena Williams. Mistake or not his words were very disrespectful. It questioned her citizenship and her legitimacy as being the face of American tennis.

At the US Open Oudin gave a segment of American tennis hope. Many have been waiting for a white player who can possibly be the face of American tennis just like the good ole days when Tracy Austin and Chris Evert dominated in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Just think, if Oudin can manage to do well then tennis can have a “real” American represent instead of the adopted Maria Sharapova.

Despite the success of the Williams’ sisters over the last decade a segment of the tennis establishment are not comfortable with having African Americans dominate. They are not comfortable with having two African Americans raised under one roof take over a sport historically reserved for whites.

Can you name me a set of brothers and sisters of any race who both dominated a professional sport like the Williams’ sisters?

In the course of establishing and maintaining their strangle-hold on tennis the Williams’ sisters have made decisions that aren’t embraced. One of those decisions being their unwillingness to consistently play Fed Cup tennis. I see it like this: if this is America you have a choice to do as you please so long if it’s under the jurisdiction of the law. If the Williams’ sisters don’t want to play Fed Cup they don’t have too.

Some see the Williams’ sisters desire to not represent the ole “red, white and blue” as a slap in the face. Where was the “ole red, white and blue” when the entire Williams’ family was subject to racist taunts at Indian Wells in 2001? Where was the outcry when Serena was mercifully booed in the final where fans reportedly called members of her family “nigger” among other things?

As a result the Williams’ sisters vowed to never step foot at that tournament again and they haven’t.


It cuts both ways: you can’t condemn the Williams’ sisters for not playing representing their country and simultaneously do nothing when “Americans” have been victimized by racism on tour.

Bottom line: if Melanie Oudin has a right to speak her peace. She’s free to say how she feels. But at the same time the Williams’ sisters have a right not to play Fed Cup if they don’t want to.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Charlie Weis must go!!!


Charlie Weis’ Notre Dame fighting Irish played Navy at home and lost 23-21. The embarrassing loss puts Notre Dames hope for a BCS game in serious jeopardy as Navy literally ran all over the Irish defense.

Two seasons ago Navy beat the Irish 46-44. Before that loss the Irish beat Navy 43 consecutive times. Now Navy has won 2 of the last 3 contests against the Irish.

What’s the excuse now for keeping Weis as head coach?

Based on the teams performance today Notre Dame must make some changes starting with Weis. The team has played a bubble gum schedule to ensure they’d have good record but not necessarily a good team. Bottom line: Weis hasn’t met the high expectations he set for the team when he took over for Tyrone Willingham five seasons ago.

All the excuses must cease. No more benefit of the doubts. Weis must go.

How can folks continue to think Weis is the coach that gives the Irish the best chance to win? Was Weis even qualified for this prestigious job to begin with?

Yeah, he was an offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots. But he was just a member of the Bill Belichick tree. His only head coaching experience came with a high school team in 1989 in New Jersey.

Stellar credentials huh?

Weis wasn’t responsible for New England’s success-he was merely a part of it. Weis wasn’t the head coach. He was just a hired gun to maintain order on the offensive side of the ball. A head coach is responsible for everything. It’s a responsibility Weis never had on a large scale until now.

If Weis was so great how come no one in the NFL wanted him? How come former defensive coordinator at New England Romeo Crennel got a shot with the Cleveland Browns while Weis was forced to the collegiate ranks?

Josh McDaniels eventually stepped into Weis’ role as offensive coordinator at New England and they didn’t miss a beat. Now look at what he’s doing leading the Denver Broncos.

What’s the point?

The point is Weis sucks. He isn’t a good coach, his team is overrated and he needs to be fired yesterday.

Ideally Weis should’ve been canned after his third season when he posted a 3-9 debacle two seasons ago. Notre Dame had no problem ousting Tyrone Willingham who posted a 6-5 record after his third season. Why was one guy canned and the other one wasn’t?

I will forever link Weis with Willingham. Weis is getting the opportunity that Willingham was never given. Unlike Willingham, Weis has gotten every opportunity to right the ship. Willingham was treated unfairly while Weis was catered to.

Willingham was horrible at Washington last year. There’s no excuse for a team to go 0-12. Such a dismal record is a direct reflection on the coach but that’s not the point: the point is Willingham wasn’t given the opportunity to turn things around at Notre Dame like Weis has gotten.

Karma will prevail.

Where’s the decisive “schematic” advantage Weis said his teams would have? People can continue to turn a blind eye to what’s really going on but I won’t. At the end of the day it’s about results and Weis hasn’t produced.

Frankly speaking, Weis hasn’t had a signature win in five seasons nor has he gotten the most out of his so-called great recruits.

Say as you wish, there’s no way Notre Dame will ever restore it’s once proud football tradition under the leadership of Charlie Weis. All due respect to Navy, but they are not a perennial power yet they handled Notre Dame fairly well.

The only dignified thing the Notre Dame administration can do is pull the plug on the Charlie Weis era.

The time has come to make a change. Weis must go!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Serena Williams wins Doha and secures No.1 ranking, will she play the Australian Open?


Serena Williams is assured of being the No. 1 player in the world after beating her big sister in the final of the WTA Championships in Doha, Quatar 6-2, 7-6 (7-4). Serena’s next formidable opponent could come from the tennis hierarchy as she now faces the possibility of not competing in the 2010 Australian Open.

Why?

The tennis establishment is trying to penalize Serena for something she’s already been sanctioned for. The Grand Slam Committee is considering punishing Serena for her outburst at last years’ US Open.
Here’s what went down at the US Open. Serena was defaulted from her semifinal match against eventual champion Kim Clijsters. Serena was serving 15-30 down in the second set when she was called for a foot fault.

Replays indicated it wasn’t a foot fault. Serena got very upset. She said the following to the lines person: “I swear to God I’m (expletitve) going to take this (expletive) ball and shove it down your (expletive) throat, you hear that? I swear to God!”

Serena was fined $10,500.00 for her actions. Since the incident she’s consistently apologized for her outburst. I guess to some that’s not enough.


Serena has played in events since the blowup but for some reason the Grand Slam Committee is still investigating the US Open incident. If the committee has its way it’s possible the No. 1 player in the world wouldn’t be able to defend her title in Australia.

The WTA Chief Executive Stacey Allaster recently stated, "It is under investigation. It is ongoing," Allaster continued, "It would be safe to assume a decision will be taken before year-end. Serena has acknowledged the incident as a mistake. It's something she's not proud of, and she's apologised for that."

What’s there to investigate? Why is the Grand Slam Committee making a big deal out what happened at the US Open?

To me this isn’t about an investigation. It’s about the tennis establishment trying to make an example of out of Serena Williams.

John McEnroe got defaulted from the 1990 Australian Open for viciously berating a tournament official. McEnroe has made a living off the “you cannot be serious” rant. He has a long history of berating officials. McEnroe still, at age 50, displays his childish antics on the senior tour.

Serena doesn’t have a have rap-sheet like McEnroe. Why is McEnroe embraced for being a jerk yet Serena is being scrutinized for a one-time incident?

Also, Serena recently posed nude for ESPN The Magazine. Some have said doing such a thing is bad for tennis. Haven’t other female tennis players posed in a provocative fashion? Was it bad for the sport when Anna Kournikova was posing in skimpy attire back in the day?

If Maria Sharapova had poised on the cover of ESPN The Magazine instead of Serena I’d venture to say there would be little if any scrutiny.

Serena has never been fully embraced by the establishment because she’s of a different breed. Even though she’s the No. 1 player in the world, won 11 Grand Slams, and made tons of money she will never gain full acceptance in the tennis world and a segment of white America because she’s African American.

Serena dominates a sport historically that’s catered to the white elite. She wasn’t raised in Beverly Hills at the country club.Serena is from Compton, California. When Serena berated the official at the US Open it was partly a reflection of the community in which she was raised.

Sad to say but American tennis would rather anoint a foreigner like Maria Sharapova as the face of tennis rather than Serena. Granted Sharapova is a great player and is attractive but her accomplishments fail in comparison to Serena’s. What Sharapova has that’s sometimes held against Serena is her white skin.

In short, Sharapova can make the connection because of her complexion.

I’ve covered a lot of tennis. It’s a wonderful sport but it clearly lacks diversity. From the front offices of the USTA, to the players, to the press box African Americans are clearly absent.

Part of the reason for the lack of diversity is directly attributed to institutionalized racism. The upper rungs of the tennis hierarchy clearly haven’t embraced the concept of variety being the spice of life.

If you take away Serena and Venus from tennis the tour would be lily-white: the same could be said if you Tiger Woods weren’t playing on the PGA tour. I think the USTA, WTA and ITF should utilize the star power of the Williams’ family and the charisma of Serena and Venus to take the game to the masses. Sadly, the latter won’t happen because people typically fear that which they don’t understand. It would require the rich powerful elite to constructively attack their ignorance, open their minds and embrace diversity for it to manifest.

The tennis hierarchy is merely perpetuating the lack of diversity by unfairly labeling Serena as an outcast who has a history of abhorrent behavior. Doesn’t it make sense to try understanding Serena rather than unfairly labeling and penalizing her?

What’s also critical is Serena speaking up herself. If she believes she’s being treated unfairly she needs to speak out. She’ll be labeled, fined and or suspended regardless.

But who cares?

The establishment will continue to attempt to make Serena an example of her regardless so why not speak out? She’ll still be the best player in the world and put butts in the seats right?

Stand tall Serena. Let us know how you feel.

Bottom line: the No. 1 player in the world should not be suspended from the Australian Open for an incident that’s already been handled. The ITF, the Grand Slam Committee, and the WTA need to get a clue and get some spice in their lives.