Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What Should Classy Women Do With Don Imus, Woolly-Headed Fool?

One of my favorite interlocutors asked me a pointed question this morning:

"Am I the only one wondering why on earth Rutgers University or its coaches would be willing to have their women basketball players give Don Imus an audience, be in the same room with him or participate in his repentance-and-redemption dog and pony show?

I think that they should issue a terse statement that Mr. Imus is not welcome on their campus.

It’s like some fundamental law has been forgotten in all the media drama. Nobody is so important that they get to call a group of young women 'nappy headed ho’s' and then get to be in the same room with them."

I agree entirely with the main point here: no one is so important that they deserve an audience with people they have insulted.

I also have thought Don Imus was a fool throughout his career. I don't understand what his audience is. At least Rush Limbaugh has "dittoheads" who agree with his views. The "shock jock" audience, on the other hand, seems to listen for nothing more than that something shocking be said, whether they agree with it or not. It is no surprise to me that he said something shockingly stupid about the Rutgers women's basketball team. He says something shockingly stupid every day. That is his job.

If I were the president of Rutgers I would have blasted Imus and asked other responsible persons in the university to publicly help make him and all his works unwelcome at Rutgers.

Still, I am glad that coach Vivian Stringer and the young ladies who play for her responded to Imus as they did. They were so classy that they raised the tone of sports discussion in general, if only for a moment.

Which brings us to the question of why and whether the team should meet with Imus. If I were the coach, I would not meet with Imus, and I certainly wouldn't go to his studio. On the other hand, the women of the team seem to be considerate young ladies. They don't want to just leave Imus in the gutter, precisely because he is in the gutter. They are giving him a chance to redeem himself. Given the mealy-mouthed apologies that he has given already, I think he will probably make it worse.

Nonetheless, I think the Lady Scarlet Knights continue to show class. I look forward to their return to the tournament next year.


Mark Smith said...

I am a Rutgers graduate.

When I was a student, I was a women's Basketball fan. Two of the four years I was in the Pep Band at their games.

What I found back then was that the women's basketball team were distinct from other athletes (men's basketball team, football team) in their gracious and friendly behavior. And that's both on and off the court - one of my floormates one year was close friends with one of the women's team members.

They are once again showing more grace than Imus deserves.

This isn't the first time that they've shown grace. Back at the beginning of the season, the Rutgers team chose to stay away from the arena and skip the Championship Game of the US Virgin Islands tournament after the brother of an Arizona State player died at the tournament. Showing up would have caused Arizona State to suffer a forfeit. Staying away prevented the game from being scored either way. The two teams eventually did meet again in the NCAA tournament on a more level playing field.

Jody Harrington said...

What a nice story about an earlier Rutgers team, Mark.

Imus just keeps getting publicity from all this, which is a shame because it is taking attention away from the young ladies' achievements in the tournament.

I don't know whether meeting with Imus will help make it all go away more quickly or not.

Gruntled said...

And how about findings ways to make Imus go away? This is a free country, so I don't think he should be banned. I am glad to see his advertisers pulling the plug, but if people want to listen to that sort of thing, they are free to.

Still, I hope for a day when all the Professionally Incivil fade away from the airwaves. The chant of our hope is "Morton Downey, Jr."

SPorcupine said...

I watched an entire hour of the team press conference last night.

The team members were very consistent about saying they want to understand the man and speak to him directly. Over and over, they declined to say he should be fired, because they want to meet him first. They answered every question about "Imus" with calm thought about meeting "Mr. Imus."

Yes, that gives them a chance he doesn't deserve.

Yes, it's exactly "more grace than Imus deserves."

From a Christian perspective, we all get more grace than we deserve. From hearing the team members speak, my hunch is that most of them are doing it for exactly that faith-based reason.

(In the same situation, I think a Tennessee team would spell that out. In New Jersey, faith speaks more softly, but it glows all the same.)

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Gruntled said...