NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer said yesterday the team had accepted radio host Don Imus’ apology. She said he deserves a chance to move on but hopes the furor over his racist and sexist insult will be a catalyst for change.
“We, the Rutgers University Scarlet Knight basketball team, accept … Mr. Imus’ apology, and we are in the process of forgiving,” Mrs. Stringer said a day after the women met with Mr. Imus and his wife, Deirdre.
The team had played for the NCAA national championship early last week and lost before Mr. Imus, on his nationally syndicated radio show, called the players “nappy-headed hos.” The statement outraged listeners and set off a national debate about taste and tolerance. It also led to his firing by CBS on Thursday.
“These comments are indicative of greater ills in our culture,” Mrs. Stringer said. “It is not just Mr. Imus, and we hope that this will be and serve as a catalyst for change. Let us continue to work hard together to make this world a better place.”
Mr. Imus was in the middle of a two-day radio fundraiser for children’s charities when he was dropped by CBS. Yesterday, his wife took over the show and also talked about the meeting with the Rutgers players.
“They gave us the opportunity to listen to what they had to say and why they’re hurting and how awful this is,” Mrs. Imus said.
“He feels awful,” she said of her husband. “He asked them, ‘I want to know the pain I caused, and I want to know how to fix this and change this.’ ”
Mr. Imus apologized on the air late last week and also tried to explain himself before the Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio audience, sounding alternately contrite and combative.
On Wednesday, a week after the remark, MSNBC said it would no longer televise the Imus show. CBS fired Mr. Imus on Thursday from the radio show that he has hosted for nearly 30 years.
“He has flourished in a culture that permits a certain level of objectionable expression that hurts and demeans a wide range of people,” CBS Corp. Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said in a memo to his staff.