Monday, April 09, 2007

Imus Suspended for Racial Remarks [J. Mark English]

Brian Williams of the NBC Nightly New announced tonight:

"Don Imus, whose national morning show is simulcast on our cable network MSNBC, is being suspended, taken off the air for two weeks starting Monday, because of comments he made last week...Many of us at NBC News are frequent guests on the Imus show. He spent this entire day apologizing under withering fire for the remarks he made about members of the Rutgers basketball team."

The Rutger students on the ladies basketball team have not accepted Imus' apology as of yet. Christine Sloan of CBS News reports:

Several members of the Rutgers womens team met with the president of their University to talk about the racially charged comments Imus made about them on his radio show.

"Don Imus' comments were despicable and racist," school president Richard McCormick said. "It was so obvious they were hurt by what he had said. They were angry, perplexed."

We're going to actually take them to coach (C. Vivian) Stringer because we actually believe she did something, such a big thing for this campus and school this year," student Richard Spellman said.
Members of the team were in and out of the offices at the school's athletic center. Imus said he'd like to meet with the team, their parents and their coach. Governor Jon Corzine is expected to meet with the Rutgers president Monday evening to discuss Imus' comments. The president has also said he's not opposed to team members sitting down with Imus face-to-face.

Earlier today Imus appeared on the Reverend Al Sharpton's radio show to apologize. The raw interview can be found on

Here are some highlights of the transcripts from the New York Time's website:

SHARPTON. All right. Now, let me first ask you this: What is any possible reason you could feel that this kind of statement could be just forgiven and overlooked?

IMUS. I don't think it should be. I don't think it can be. I think it can be forgiven, but I don't think it can be overlooked. And I - when I originally apologized on Friday, I apologized. And I didn't say what everybody said, you know, if I offended somebody, I'm sorry, because I knew I offended somebody. So I apologize. But I didn't want to be portrayed, as often, an excuse saying, well, what we have is a comedy show, which it is. I'm not a journalist, I'm not Tim Russert, I'm not a politician. I don't have any - we don't have an agenda. Our agenda is to try to be funny. And sometimes we go too far and sometimes we go way too far. In this case, we went way too far.

SHARPTON. Mr. Imus, do you think it's funny to call people nappy-headed ho's?

IMUS. No, I don't.

SHARPTON. So you thought it was funny Wednesday morning?

IMUS. I don't know if I thought it was funny or not, but we got - it was a situation where we're sitting there rapping, see, and I'm saying, I watched the game last night between Rutgers and Tennessee. And I heard one of the sportscasters say that Rutgers is a lot tougher team. So I got on the air and I said, man, they are tough. I said, they got tattoos, and then somebody else said something. And then I said that. And at the time I said it, because I'm talking about two African-American teams, and at the time I said it, I didn't think - I mean I don't know, I'm just telling you what I thought - I didn't think it was racial. I wasn't even thinking racial. I was thinking like a "West Side Story" deal, like one team's tough and one team's not so tough.

SHARPTON. Nappy is racial.

IMUS. Yes, sir, I understand that.

Comments -

What Imus said is deplorable. But have we gone a bit to far here? This is a show in which its success is based on "shock" humor. As a Catholic should I not be offended every week when they have a disgraceful impression of Cardinal Egan who sounds like a drunk Irish priest? As a conservative should I not be offended when he portrays Rush Limbaugh as a racist drug addict? As a Republican should I not be offended when he calls President Bush the worst disaster in American history?

In a New York minute, he says a terrible thing about the Rutgers team and Imus finally feels the heat. But from the things I described above, isn't this all just part of the act of Imus?

Should we judge him on the same sense of humor that has made his show a hit over the past twenty years? One of the most listened to morning shows across the nation, syndicated as well on cable. This is a man who raises millions of dollars every to fly sick children with cancer out to his ranch to give them a new lease on life. He is impartial as to the race or creed of the children that are flown to his ranch.

He has also raised millions of dollars to help fight Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Should he not be given a pass this once because of all of his good deeds?

When will this media driven political world move beyond the drive by attacks on personalities based on the maligned intent of what a person said.

Last year before the general election, Senator John Kerry referred to our military personal as being "stupid". What he said though was taken out of context. He was not actually implying that only stupid people are in our armed forces. I believe the Senator admires our armed forces. Heck, he served once himself.

A few years ago Rush Limbaugh was called a racist for claiming that Donovan McNabb was overrated because he was black. Yet, Limbaugh was only making the point that McNabb was over-hyped by the media because of his race. It was a critique of the media, not the race of McNabb.

Stones are being thrown in a fast and furious manner towards Imus. I think its time that the mainstream media take a step back, and nutheads like the Reverend Al Sharpton should let sleeping dogs lie. I mean what good has he done for the people in Harlem? He uses their misery to make a profit for himself. He fought every step of the way against welfare reform in the 1990's. The very welfare reform that has helped millions of African American get off of government dependency, and find themselves in free market sector as viable workers.

Maybe Sharpton should apologize to the people he claims to represent before he continues his castration of Imus by stone.