It’s Just Sports: Jemele Hill on Charles Rogers


"Read it all hereFollowing the coverage of Hamilton’s relapse, it is pretty clear that the Rangers as an organization have a basic understanding of the seriousness of drug and alcohol addiction and have at least publicly made efforts to put a support system in place for Hamilton. Did the Lions do this with Rogers?In some ways, yes, and in some ways, no. After his first collarbone break, the Lions did the right thing by keeping him involved in team activities. Charles was still going to meetings and hanging around the facility. They kept him engaged. According to both Matt Millen and Charles, he began offseason workouts weeks before his teammates and heading into the 2004 season, he was in the best shape of his life. But the second collarbone break, the Lions did not provide that same support, something Millen admitted in our piece, was a mistake. They left Charles on an island and considering they already had drafted Roy Williams, the pressure began to build on Charles. After the NFL suspended Charles for drugs, Millen said he had a talk with Charles and tried to get him to open up. He didn’t feel that he was all that successful. And because there was so much turmoil going on with the Lions outside of Charles, he just fell through the cracks. I don’t necessarily blame the Lions for what happened to Charles, but like a lot of people, I wonder if he’d still be in the NFL if he would have been chosen by another team."

I find the Josh Hamilton comparisons interesting, albeit Hamilton has actually achieved a certain level of success after fighting his demons and Rogers is really in the ‘Never Was’ category.

People in general don’t understand addiction; I don’t even think addicts understand addiction. It’s difficult to comprehend it if you don’t have it. I’ve listened to massive amounts of Dr. Drew over the last 13 years and I have social science degrees, and I suppose I can grasp it’s nature, I can only tell you that it’s an extremely relative disease. It exists… there is the argument over that classification because it’s a choice based disorder, not like a child born with leukemia that has no choice in the matter and it has a lot to do with your socioeconomic status.

Wealthy people know how to insulate themselves from the law and from the problems and the way that a life tends to fall apart. Yeah, they can get out of hand, but a spoiled rich kid with Paris Hilton kind of mommy and daddy money can hire drivers and get the expensive and exclusive drug dealers (maybe even buy off police officers or use their parents powerful connections to keep them out of the judicial system).

Is some wealthy WASP that is drunk by 3pm everyday an alcoholic? If they aren’t in trouble with the Police (ie, they don’t drive around, they sit in the house and get plastered) and if they aren’t decaying all of their personal relationships to the point where their family has an intervention then… well? Addiction is behavior despite consequences. Consequences are relative to your living situation. If a poor kid gets popped for possession of coke or pot or whatever doesn’t have powerful lawyer money, doesn’t have powerful connections to manipulate the system and will thus end up in jail.

C. Rogers had the money, but he didn’t use it wisely. And even after his initial legal issues, he ended up in jail because he failed an alcohol test on probation. When the man wants your breath and urine, take heed not to get popped. How far was his head up his ass on this one? You can be rich and special *before* you’re in the system. Once you’re in it, you’re just another number on a case file. Watch your back until its over, the criminal justice system is run by a bunch of C students and whatever happens, it’s you who will wind up in the cell block, not them. How he was foolish enough to think he was special or that they wouldn’t test him because of his notoriety is beyond me.

I wish Charles luck. I want him to get his **** together and become a productive receiver in the NFL. C’mon Mr. Rogers, Spartan up!