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For himself and others, Rogers needed to leave

Part of the job of being a sports writer is to question and critique what we see on the field.

It’s a study in ignorance. Things happen on a molecular level during a game that have major effects on the outcome, yet are barely noticeable and often beyond anyone’s control no matter how much we like to think otherwise.

For that reason, I’ve long had a policy that I would never “go after” a coach in print solely for what happens on the field. I never will write an article or column saying, “Coach McCoachface must be fired!” just because they lost a game or had a bad season. It’s not fair.

All of that said, there are times when it becomes obvious that a coach needs to go for reasons beyond the X’s and O’s — which brings us to Marcus Rogers.

Rogers is an excellent football coach. In three seasons he rebuilt a struggling Vicksburg High program into a respectable one. The Gators won nine games last season and seem poised for more in 2017.

Rogers’ players like him, and he cared about them. During his brief tenure, he worked overtime to help find college or junior college offers for 26 of his players.

All of that is to be commended.

Unfortunately, Rogers’ personal battle with alcohol became very public when he crashed a school district vehicle late at night on April 5 and was arrested for DUI. He resigned from his job two days later.

We haven’t been able to get a clear answer why Rogers was in a driver’s ed car at midnight, but the fact remains that he was. Crashing a company car while allegedly drunk will get you fired from almost any job in America.

That wasn’t the only reason Rogers and VHS needed to part ways. We as a society spend countless hours teaching people about the horrors of drunk driving. To have someone in a leadership position such as Rogers arrested for it sets the wrong example. The only thing worse would be to show there are no consequences for it.

On a personal level, it seems obvious Rogers needed to step away and get treatment for his issues with alcohol. He called last week’s incident “an eye opener” and planned to enter a treatment program.

Rogers is a man, with a wife and three children, who must still provide for his family when the dust settles from all of this. He set one bad example with a mistake. Now he can set a good one by changing the behavior that led to it.

And, to do that, he had to go.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer at The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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