Strike one, you’re fired: How a kickball win became a workplace sin

  • Joel Rodgers
  • Daniel Cordell Photography
Shreveport is a city in need of accountability and Real Shreveport is a site looking to provide more information to help inform the public.
How I came to Real Shreveport is an interesting story, and it has to do with one of my favorite childhood games, kickball.
The game of kickball, originally called “kick baseball“, was invented as early as 1917.
At its inception, friendly competition made all the players better, but in recent times many people care less about the competition and more about everyone getting a trophy.
My name is Joel Rodgers and after winning a kickball tournament, I didn’t get a trophy – I got fired.
For 5 years, I was the morning show reporter for KTAL, a local news organization whose motto, “Keeping it Local” sounded perfect to me, because I’m from Shreveport.
For some people, getting booted out of work is humiliating to talk about. I get that.
But sometimes there are “getting fired” stories that are just too crazy to keep secret.
As 2017 drew to a close, so did my time at this Shreveport news station. On December 7th, I was terminated because of a Facebook post concerning a kickball tournament.
I’m serious, I got fired because of a kickball post.
Here’s how it happened; back in November, I participated in the Krewe of Highland Kickball Tournament.
Several weeks after the event I posted on Facebook,
“Hey, when are we going to get our prizes for winning? This isn’t a scam, is it? If it is a scam, you all need to be on the lookout for the Krewe of Highland Kickball scam.”
The post, intended to be a humorous blend of tongue-in-cheek and lighthearted sarcasm, landed me in a conference room with the News Director and station General Manager.
All too often employers botch terminations by failing to lay the proper groundwork and/or failing to provide an adequate explanation.
“Joel, you’ve tarnished the station’s reputation and for that reason, you’re now terminated.”
There I sat, in a conference room, getting fired – over kickball.
So I ask; if a news organization will fire someone over something like a kickball tournament, then don’t you think that reporters know not to tell the hard truth if it isn’t popular here for commercial or social reasons?
The answer, yes.
What excites me about joining Real Shreveport is the ability to give the reality of our local community so we can better ourselves without having to worry about things like; who the boss is friends with, or what organizations are deemed untouchable because of commercial reasons.
Moving forward, I look forward to covering many topics here at Real Shreveport. One of those areas being Music and Entertainment. With so many talented people in our area, shining a spotlight on bands, artists, and entertainment throughout our city is something I’m really looking forward to.
I look forward to introducing the community to the many talented artists in our area.
Now, I’m no jewel expert, but the story of how I got fired just might be the most “Hope Diamond” of “getting canned” gems you’ll see all year. I got fired over kickball, and if you speak out against a friend of the station, you will too.

Joel Rodgers

Joel Rodgers joined RealShreveport.com in January 2018 as a reporter/journalist. Prior to joining our team, Joel spent the previous 5 years as a morning show reporter, entertainment reporter, and sports reporter for a local television station. At 6’5”, he's the tallest reporter in the history of Shreveport, but it’s more than just his height that makes this Shreveport native stand out. His editing skills combined with his love for storytelling makes for a creative and talented addition to the RealShreveport team. After attending and graduating from Evangel Christian Academy, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern State University. Joel is very active in the Shreveport community having won several competitions in recent years. In 2017, he danced his way to victory in the annual Susan G. Komen event, “Dancing for the Cure." He’s also won the “Mudbug Madness” Crawfish eating contest in back-to-back years and was named the top celebrity chef at the “Louisiana Food Prize” cooking competition. If you have a story idea, news tip, or just want to say "hey" - you can do so by emailing Joel Rodgers at jrodgers@realshreveport.com

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