Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Thursday, December 16, 2010

NFL, Media and Race: Are Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger Protected?

Brett Favre’s consecutive games streak is over, now all we need is a resolution to the Jenn Sterger situation. 

In 2008, Favre allegedly sent inappropriate texts to Sterger while Favre played for the New York Jets and Sterger was an employee with the team.

An investigation was completed by NFL league investigators last week.  The results were promptly given to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell stated he received the results of the investigation and indicated a decision is forthcoming.  Goodell stated, "I got a report last week. I expect sometime in the near future to be making a decision."

This matter has been ongoing for two months now.  Why has it taken so long to make a decision?

Either Favre sent the texts and harassed Sterger or he did not. It should not take this long to determine what did or did not happen.

This Favre-Sterger situation has been meticulously buried by the media.  Don’t you think a married star quarterback being accused of making unwanted advances and sending texts of his private parts to a female employee is a big deal?

Is Favre getting a pass?

Quite simply, Favre is a made man. This entitles him to a level of protection from the media and NFL hierarchy few others receive.  Furthermore, his complexion and celebrity grants him additional perks which equates to an even higher level of protection.

Here’s my two cents.

Both the NFL and the media hierarchy are dominated by whites. Over 94 percent of the editors at mainstream newspapers are white.  Furthermore, 75 percent of the NFL league office is white.

The latest statistics from The Institute of Diversity and Ethics show African-Americans account for just six percent of all positions at mainstream newspapers.  Furthermore, African-Americans account for just 8.6 percent of the positions at the NFL league office.

Facts indicate decision-making positions in both the media and NFL are controlled by whites.  Therefore, the stories are being written and edited by whites and the decisions are being made by a vastly white office.
Favre is being granted a pass because of the John Wayne legend created by the media and Goodell’s reluctance to make a swift decision.  

Percentages indicate African-Americans have few connections in the media and the league office that enables them to be granted a pass like Favre.

Based on the outlined facts, I’m of the opinion had an African-American quarterback been accused of the items Favre has, the investigation would have been completed sooner and a resolution already made.
Look no farther than Ben Roethlisberger for an example.  Roethlisberger has been accused of sexual assault twice in the last two years.  The second of Roethlisberger’s alleged assaults came from a 20-year old college coed in Milledgeville, Georgia last March.

The mainstream media was given the nod to keep Roethlisberger’s situation quiet.  ESPN did not cover the story with the level of persistence as it had incidents involving African-American athletes like Plaxico Burress, Michael Vick and Tiger Woods.

Even to this day, Roethlisberger’s erratic behavior has become a total non-issue.

Dating back to 2006 when he crashed his motorcycle; to being accused of sexual assault in 2008; to adding another alleged assault this past March Roethlisberger has enjoyed the perks of being a young white quarterback in the NFL.

Roethlisberger has slithered his way back into his comfort zone with gracious aid from the media and the NFL.  Instead of the media addressing Roethlisberger’s past, he's asked about his broken noise or his injured ankle.  Rarely is there mention of the reckless behavior he’s engaged in.

Let’s face it, what Michael Vick did to those dogs was disgusting, but at least he paid his debt to society.  He has also faced the media piper by not shying away from his past.

Vick has openly talked about the mistakes he’s made and has vowed to be a better person.  Up to this point, he has held true to his word.

Despite his stellar play, he is still scrutinized by a segment of the media.  The media is asking whether Vick deserves be applauded by fans despite his past.  The media is asking whether Vick deserves to be a pitchman for products.  The media is asking whether it is good for the league if he’s named MVP of the NFL.

I have no issue with the latter line of questions so long as there is a level of consistency.  If the media continues to question Vick as he tries to move on with his life, should the media request the same from Roethlisberger?
The media wants to talk about his Favre’s consecutive game streak ending and whether he’ll play again this season.  Those are legitimate topics, but it is also important for the media to cover whether Favre potentially sexually harassed Sterger.

Favre is clearly getting a pass from the NFL hierarchy by delaying a decision and the media for not pressing the issue that is partly predicated on celebrity and race.

To me, there is a clear double standard between how African-American athletes are treated compared to white athletes: different strokes for different folks.

 Again, that’s my two cents.

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Anonymous said...

Bless your heart for trying so hard to create stories were there are none.

Dexter Rogers said...

I beg to differ. It is a story. And I am not done with him yet.

Anonymous said...

I'd wager my life savings on the issue that you're not done with this yet. So, I better not distract you for too long, as I'm sure you've got to devote your energy full time to you fertile imagination.