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I couldn’t quite believe my eyes, but replays and game announcers quickly confirmed what I thought I saw—a New York Jets coach tripping a Miami Dolphins player. Assistant Coach Sal Alosi stuck out his knee as Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll ran to cover a punt, tripping him. Bad enough behavior as it is, but Alosi’s incredible lapse of sportsmanship played out live and in color on Sunday night national television.

What words come to mind when you hear this? Dumb. Poor sportsmanship. Conduct unbecoming. Are you kidding me? Did he think he could get away with this? Did he think?

Today, we heard the NFL verdict: Alosi will be suspended from the team without pay for the rest of the season, including the playoffs, and be fined $25,000. Pretty steep penalty, but not steep enough.

Alosi has “taken responsibility,” apologized, said he won’t do it again, and promised to write 500 times “I will not be mind-numbingly stupid. I will not be mind-numbingly stupid.”

OK, but still not enough. As leaders and as compensated professionals coaches bear a greater responsibility. They’re supposed to be the grown-ups. They’re supposed to set the standard, be a model, inspire others. Sal Alosi may have done a credible job as a team fitness coach. He may be, apart from tripping, a nice guy who mows his Grandma’s lawn every week. But for all that, he’s a man who squandered a stewardship. In a time when more professional athletes are engaging in bad, ill-advised, and even violent behavior, you'd hope that coaches, at least, would still be capable of demonstrating character.

Organizations have long since lost the will to fire people. Organizations are afraid of lawsuits, afraid of being singled out on national television as a bad corporation, or worst of all, afraid of being considered “insensitive.” But there was a day when being fired served as a statement of accountability.

No one likes to lose a job. In fact, there’s no pleasant nor easy way to tell someone he or she has lost a job, and there’s certainly no pleasant or easy way to receive such information.

But losing a job, even being fired, is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. It's not capital punishment. In fact, if a person is indeed guilty of some workplace infraction, as Alosi assuredly is, than being fired can be a turning point in life. It gets ones attention and it can be turned to the good.

I don’t mean to romanticize getting fired. It’s not fun and games, and shouldn't be done arbitrarily. But organizations must attend to their missions and that does not generally include giving a second chance to employees guilty of egregious behavior.

Alosi was a professional, some would say privileged professional. Yet he acted in a highly unprofessional manner. This is grounds for firing. In the end, Alosi need not be banned forever from football, but neither should he be permitted to reengage with this team. Who among the players would respect him? Time for Alosi to move on for the good of the team and, truth be told, for him too.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at

Picture the scene: President Obama introduces Bill Clinton at a White House press briefing. Clinton, not the least rattled, takes the podium. Obama channels Pat Nixon while adoringly looking on from nearby. For Clinton, Christmas has come early. This scenario tops his fondest fantasies.

Sounds odd and it was. But this is what took place Friday afternoon in the White House.

President Barack Obama announced Clinton’s support of a brokered tax deal with Republicans, hands off to Clinton, watches briefly, and leaves. That’s right, he leaves saying he’s keeping the First Lady waiting and must go to a party.

Is this strange or what? I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never heard of anything like it. If President Obama was concerned about his fading political clout before, he better be now. It was a show of emasculated leadership.

Too strong, you say? Imagine Hilary Clinton as President. Really, it may yet happen. Then imagine her inviting Bill Clinton to share a White House press briefing. Never happen in a million years.

Imagine George H. W. Bush bringing in Ronald Reagan, or for that matter, despite his enduring respect for his father, imagine George W. Bush, 43, sharing a White House policy lectern with 41. We don’t have pictures of these historic events because they never happened.

Accounts of the run-up to this political misstep suggest it all came together unplanned in a matter of minutes during Bill Clinton’s visit with the President to discuss tax politics. It looked unplanned. If I were President Obama I’d fire whatever political advisors let this happen. Or maybe they were caught off-guard when the President stepped into this ill-advised photo opp himself? Whatever.

In an effort to make the President appear to be in charge it made him look weak. Standing nearby? A No-No. Leaving for a party? Gotta run so as not to keep the First Lady waiting? To borrow a phrase from ESPN’s football coverage, “Come on, Man.”

I’m not a rabid anti-Obama man. I don’t appreciate much of his politics, but I respect the office and I respect him in the office. I admire how he relates to his wife and children, and I like his careful thinking style. Since as President of the United Sates he is “my President,” unlike Rush Limbaugh, I root for him.

I appreciate the fact the President’s job is one of the most difficult leadership roles in the world. But this was too much. It was like throwing an interception. It’s tough enough to do well, to win. It’s tougher when you make unforced errors.

How could he have gained Bill Clinton’s support without leaving him alone with the White House press corp? He could have invited the former president for a discussion, then let Bill Clinton talk to the press on the White House lawn on the way out, just like every other politician.

All in all, it was not a good day for President Obama. For Bill Clinton, if he didn’t believe in deja vu, he does now. This was bad political theater that will come back to haunt President Obama in his next campaign.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


Lame duck Florida Governor Charlie Crist pushed the Florida Clemency Board this week to grant a pardon to the late Doors’ singer Jim Morrison for exposing himself at a concert in Miami in 1969.

Morrison was known as a talented but particularly wild rock star who died at age 27. While the arrest was never resolved before he died in 1971, witnesses, friends, and critics suggest the allegation fit his lifestyle. Fans, however, have been fighting for years to get the charge dropped.

Governor Crist, once considered an up-and-coming Republican star, is now an un-reelected official with no known or foreseeable political future. So he’s spending his last days in office and his executive powers to pardon dead people for public indecency. The real question is why? Why this pardon and why now?

To say that the use of public funds for this kind of ridiculous action is a waste of resources is self-evident. The pardon doesn’t help a dead man and many of his associates have gone on record rejecting it as too little, too late. In other words, whether you’re pleased or displeased, this pardon is inconsequential.

For Governor Crist, though, the pardon’s a salute to his youth. It’s a sound bite for his legacy. The pardon assures Crist will become the answer to a trivia question even if his governorship is forgotten. It makes him a hero for a few who still hang onto the counter-culture movement. It also means Crist is perhaps unintentionally demonstrating what kind of odd-thinking president he would have been. We dodged a bullet on that one.

Given the real challenges Florida faces today, whether or not Jim Morrison opened his pants in 1969 and whether his arrest was justifiable really doesn’t mean much in the scheme of things. Governor Crist just reminded us of how silly politicians can be.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


The town where I spent my boyhood is situated along a creek in a county named for the Isle of Guernsey (in the English Channel), which is named for a breed of cattle. Our home on the edge of town was about five minutes from Grandpa Rogers’s farm in the nearby rolling hills, a property that’d been in the family more than 100 years by the time I ran the hills and hollows. A place that still looms large in my memory and make-up.

Four Rogers brothers emigrated from England to Maryland in 1683. Nearly two centuries later our line of the Rogers clan traveled cross-country looking for farmland, finding it in the not-so-old state of Ohio. My Great Great Grandpa John Rogers was one of them. He stayed for a time in another community nearby, than purchased “The Farm” in 1853. Before the Civil War, his obituary says, he assisted runaway slaves along the underground railroad.

Lilburn, John’s son and my Great Grandpa, later worked The Farm along with his family until a heart attack took his life at the dinner table on Christmas Eve, 1917. Suddenly without a father to work The Farm my Grandpa Tom Rogers, then in the Eighth Grade, dropped out of school and began driving wagons for a living—and working The Farm. His two older brothers had by then moved away to pursue professional careers and never returned to farming. Grandpa stayed, bought their shares, worked The Farm, and at 33 years married Grandma. Dad was born and raised on The Farm.

When Dad and Mom got married he headed with her to the big city, her hometown, which is to say Small Town. But The Farm was never very far away, geographically or emotionally, especially while Grandpa and Grandma continued to live there.

So when I came along I all but grew up on The Farm. My first dollar came from putting up hay. Hot days of walking alongside slow-moving wagons picking up bales and tossing them on. When I got into high school and stronger we tossed the bales five rows high.

I’ve forked many a stall clean in the spring. Like most farm labor actually, it was satisfying work. I forked the straw-laden manure into a wheelbarrow, rolled the full load past the stanchions into the barnyard and up a precariously positioned plank. Over she went. The offload was fun, but it was more fun to come back into the stall, dig for my pocketknife, and carve a small notch into an old sideboard. I was a gunslinger keeping a morbid tally. The number of notches increased as a public testament to my prowess that speaks to this day.

The source of all this fertilizer was Grandpa’s Herefords, or what he called “White Faces.” Hereford’s get their name from Herefordshire, England, are reddish of body and feature white hair on their heads, neck fronts, and underbelly. Sometimes they have a white sock or two. Grandpa’s White Faces weren’t purebred, but they were polled, meaning their horns had been genetically bred from them. Some people prefer polled cattle because horns get in the way, damage farm stalls or fences, and can be dangerous even if accidentally. Grandpa’s herds were not huge, maybe 25, 30, 40 at the largest, but they were always there, required management and winter care, and provided a source of meat for the family. Best of all, they created timeless pictures of pastoral tranquility on long summer evenings. For a farmer, there’s nothing more relaxing than watching a herd of quietly grazing cattle.

Grandpa kept one breeding bull named “John.” Come to think of it, all the bulls year after year were named John and all were registered Hereford sires. To protect the genetic strength of the herd calves Grandpa would sell the older bull and buy a younger one every three or four years. I remember one John who was mean and had to wear a huge specially built metal mask on his face, which had eye covers that prevented him from seeing straight ahead unless he tilted his nose to the sky. Most of the bulls, though, and certainly the cows were quite docile, but then again we didn’t mess with the bull.

The Farm featured a continually changing menagerie of animal life. There were chickens, pigs, at times a pony or two, dogs, cats, and once in awhile sheep, goats, and maybe a horse.

I’ve never been a farmer, but in some sense I grew up one and I’m glad for it. Some of my fondest memories come from down on The Farm. It’s part of me warp and woof, imbedding in my DNA and worked into my cultural worldview. To this day driving through farm country, at home or abroad, remains a limitless source of simple pleasure.

I’ve always believed my farm roots helped me teach or preach, because the imagery of Scripture is built upon agricultural economies.

In my book, I had the best of both worlds, The Farm and Small Town.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


John Edwards, former North Carolina Senator and erstwhile presidential candidate, husband of Elizabeth, and man who conducted an affair with a campaign aide is, in my book, the definition of a cad.

I don’t write many pieces like this, but Elizabeth died this week after six years battling breast cancer. She described herself as the “anti-Barbie” for her more realistic figure, stood tall in the face of her husband’s moral and political decline, and gave the nation a new definition of strong female grace.

In 2004, John Edwards was on top of the world. A former and highly successful trial attorney, he’d served a term in the United States Senate, and was picked as John Kerry’s vice presidential running mate in what proved to be an unsuccessful run to the White House. Edwards followed this by becoming a leading Democratic candidate in the 2008 presidential race. Meanwhile, the day following Election Day 2004, Elizabeth discovered she had cancer.

Sometime in the midst of all this John Edwards got involved in an affair with political staff member Richelle Hunter. When this news broke during his candidacy in 2008, he followed a now all-too-familiar pattern: denial, denial, denial, which is to say, lie, lie, lie, then tearful admission that “mistakes were made.” He even later vigorously denied fathering Hunter’s child, only to have it later confirmed. All this took place as Elizabeth fought to survive.

Elizabeth went on to write Saving Graces, a best-selling memoir. But she ultimately lost her fight with the disease.

Elizabeth and John deserved a lot more than they got. She deserved respect and better treatment from a cad of a husband. He, while seeing his political future crash and burn, deserved more recriminations than he received.

We don’t know what words were exchanged between Elizabeth and John privately, so we really don’t know what he may have said to her. We do know that his public apologies have all been forced and shallow.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, pulled no punches in a few interviews, yet never really responded publicly with fiery ire. She’ll be remembered for her courage and her grace. Unless he makes a serious readjustment, how do you suppose John will be remembered?


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


When I was a little eeper I was sent to visit my Grandma who lived across a big field from our house on the edge of Small Town. After a time I wandered downstairs to watch her work with what was even then an old-fashioned wringer washer. It’s the kind with actual rollers twisting and smashing the clothes out of and back into the wash or rinse water.

I was just over 4 years old, probably old enough to know better than to put my fingers on the clothes near the rollers. But of course I did so and, you guessed it, I didn’t let go in time. In a manner of seconds my arm was drawn into the rollers along with the clothes.

I guess I started yelling or crying or both because Grandma ran (make that flew) down the stairs to the rescue yelling or screaming or both louder than me. By then my arm was into the wringer almost up to my elbow. I remember her flipping a lever on the right side of the washer, which released the rollers and freed my arm.

This is one of my earliest vivid memories. I can see the washer, my bare arm, the wet clothes, and Grandma wearing white. I can see the basement steps, clothes hanging on a nearby line, and the old furnace. I can hear the washer and remember Grandma’s excitement. But I can’t remember being all that shaken myself, or in pain, just something between befuddled, scared, and Oh Yeah Man, That Was Cool.

I don’t remember either, but Mom does, that this happened when she was in the hospital with a newborn sister scheduled to come home the next day. She did and I’m told Grandma was still so worried my arm would be permanently damaged she didn’t have it in her to help care for a newborn. So another relative came to help and gave my sister her first bath. Meanwhile, I returned to boy-land, roaming wild and free and oblivious to the fact that a New Sheriff had arrived in my home.

You’d think this would be the end of the story, but it’s not. Years later in college I met this girl who’d grown up in the next state, West Virginia, two and one-half hours from me. We sort of got along well. Actually, we got along really well and still are after thirty-six plus years of marriage.

The amazing thing: when she was about 7 years old she also got her arm caught in a neighbor’s wringer washer. Unlike me, who bears no physical remembrance, she wears a small scar on her right hand pointer finger. This, we speculate, is because she rescued herself, pulling her arm back out of the rollers. Whoa, I doubt if I would’ve had the smarts or the moxie to do that. Good thing Grandma was upstairs.

So what are the odds that two kids who ran their arms through wringer washers would get together?

But who cares? We got together.

Years hence, like most people, we’ve been “run through the wringer” more than once by the vagaries and vicissitudes of life.

But who cares? We’re still together.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at