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Hailing her women's NCAA national championship team as "the best the nation has to offer," and certifying them as young ladies of distinction, class and God's representatives in every sense of the word, respected veteran women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer denounced disparaging remarks about her team by a nationally syndicated shock jock this week.
Stringer, head coach for the Rutgers University Lady Scarlet Knights, has been one of the most successful coaches in America, leading three different schools to the prestigious Final Four and responsible for cultivating hundreds of young women into outstanding citizens.
A day following her unheralded team that consisted of eight Black players who are in their first or second year of college competed against Tennessee in the women's NCAA title game, they were publicly castigated on national radio by shock jock Don Imus as "nappy-headed hos."
The radio show, which originates from New York on a station owned by CBS and televised by MSNBC, resonates to millions of listeners and viewers and the racially insensitive comments smeared one of the most wonderful sports success stories of the year.
From New Jersey where Rutgers is located to the west side of Los Angeles and throughout the nation, the remarks made by the White snow haired aging radio host cast a shadow over women basketball players and to most women in general, but especially African Americans.
"Obviously it wasn't professional and it shows that he has no concern for the game of basketball or the women who play it," said veteran Dorsey High School girl's coach Sherlette Hendy.
Hendy said the jock's tirade "hurts girls, their parents, kids, women and athletics." "We try so hard to break stereotypes. It hurts and he should be fired. Two weeks of suspension is not stringent enough for what he said."
Effective Monday, April 15, Imus will be suspended from his show for two weeks by his employers, but many consider that to be just a slap on the wrist for an individual who has consistently made a mockery of ethnic groups ranging from Blacks to Jews.
Imus made this comment when radio management rebuffed him in his attempt to book African American singing group the Blind Boys. Referring to CBS radio management as "these beanie wearing, money grubbing bastards, were in my office and I argued, they're Black and blind, how can we go wrong."
One of his primary competitors Howard Stern accused Imus of running around the NBC studio calling every other African American the dreaded N-word.
This week as news of his remarks against the Rutgers women's team spread like wild fire, radio pundits, politicians, civil rights leaders and all took different positions.
Los Angeles WNBA professional women's basketball team, the Sparks declined to comment through one of their upper management officials, but civil rights leader The Rev. Al Sharpton, who interviewed Imus on his own radio show, told a national morning television show the suspension is, "not nearly enough. I think it's too little too late," Sharpton said.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson marched with several protesters outside NBC's offices in Chicago where Jackson's Rainbow Operation PUSH is head quartered. He said Imus suspension would not halt the protest. "This is a two-week cooling off period," Jackson said. "It does not challenge the character of the show, it's political impact, or the impact these comments have on our society."
Hall of Fame baseball star Cal Ripken was scheduled to appear on Imus show this week but cancelled because of the controversy.
NBC "Today's Show" personality Al Roker said, "I for one, am really tired of his diatribes, the humor at others' expense, the cruelty that passes fro funny."
Responded Rutgers players Kia Vaughn, "Unless they've given 'ho' a whole new definition, that's not what I am."
Another Matee Ajavon added, "Right now I can't really say if we have come to conclusion of whether we will accept the apology."
Imus comments come on the heels of comedian Michael Richards' stage routine where he lashed out at a couple of Blacks in the audience using language laced with the N-word.
Organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and National Organization for Women are seeking his ouster from radio and television.
No matter what happens to the shock jock Imus, the damage inflicted upon the women of the Rutgers women team will not evaporate any time soon.