"The NCAA and Rutgers University are offended by the insults on MSNBC’s Don Imus program toward the 10 young women on the Rutgers basketball team. It is unconscionable that anyone would use the airways to utter such disregard for the dignity of human beings who have accomplished much and deserve great credit.I'm very impressed by the skillful way in which the "apology" of Mr. Imus and his employers was acknowledged without being accepted.
“It is appropriate that Mr. Imus and MSNBC have apologized.”
To bring this controversy back to the original narrow focus of this blog, i.e. Rutgers Football, I can't help thinking about these same comments in a slightly different context.
Imagine that instead of reading the transcript of a radio show about a Rutgers-Tennessee basketball game from 2007, we were reading an article about a Rutgers-Princeton football game from 1917. Imagine our retroactive shock at reading a description of the great Paul Robeson of Rutgers as ugly and "nappy-headed" compared to the "cute" Princeton backfield of Mitt Buffington, Peter "Pippi" Longstocking, and P.T. Boatwright the Fourth. Of course we'd label that article a sad remnant of America's shameful racist past.
But what is Don Imus doing playing with the same hateful stereotypes on national radio and television in the 21st century? You don't have to imagine that one of these very dedicated and very young women is your sister or daughter to imagine the pain that this show is causing. There are stupid people everywhere (just look at some of the hundreds of comments generated by this article, "Don Imus Calls Rutgers Women's Team 'Nappy-Headed Hos' "), so Imus doesn't get all the blame; the lion's share of the blame has to belong to the businesspeople who have given him his money and his airtime ( You can reach them here at firstname.lastname@example.org and Imus@msnbc.com).
ADDED CONTACT INFORMATION, 6 April 07 @ 8:30 pm: Because MSNBC keeps on disclaiming responsibility for anything broadcast by Imus, here's the contact information for his radio station
WFAN (A CBS Company)
Email: email@example.com (use a catchy subject line)
Main Phone Number: 718-706-7690
On-Air hotline to talk with our hosts: 718-937-6666Contest Line: 800-821-6611
34-12 36th Street
Astoria, NY 11106
So his main enablers are a CBS company and an NBC company? Is this racist somewhere on ABC too?
ADDED CONTACT INFORMATION, 7 April 07 @ 9:30 am: Here's a list of the 96 radio stations on which he appears around the country (ZERO in the proud state of New Jersey!) in case you want to write to your local Imus outlet.
In the Boston Herald this morning, the response to the local station is noted:
Phil Redo, vice president and market manager for Greater Media Boston, which owns WTKK (96.9 FM), said the Boston station hadn’t received any complaints.
“I can’t defend it because it’s indefensible,” Redo said of the remarks. “I’m glad that he apologized and he should have. It was a stupid comment. It was a terrible thing to say.” [emphasis added]
Even just one email or phone call to these local stations (cc'd to local sponsors) should have some ripples. If you hear a response to any of your complaints, please let me know in the comments.