Editor's Note: Since the posting of this feature, Don Imus has been fired by both MSNBC and CBS, which owns WFAN radio in New York.
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network
Let?s take a closer look at that for a moment and, at the same time, keep the image of a contrite, regretful, guilt-ridden and conscience-stricken Don Imus in mind. Also, make no mistake about the furor that his ?racially insensitive? remarks have created. I am not condoning them, making excuses for him or allowances for what was said in any sort of intended comedic setting.
However, what I am saying is that we have gone completely over the top with this situation. That is neither a presidential pardon nor anything remotely resembling same. I do not listen to Imus, nor do I listen to, or watch, Howard Stern, the latter deserving of the title, ?shock jock,? and the former just not being worth my time?certainly not a ?shock jock.?
Don Imus has been broadcasting on WFAN since 1982 and simulcasted on MSNBC since 1996.
Alice, for those of you with any recall, upsets the Queen (details being unimportant right now) and the Queen then becomes frustrated and commands that her head be severed. You see, generally, the Queen demands that everything is perfect and if, for some reason, something goes wrong, you can be sure anyone involved will be sentenced to be beheaded. There was only one way to react and settle all difficulties, great or small... ?Off with his head!? She offers an interesting approach towards justice: sentence before verdict.
The Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson never met a protest that they did not like, a rally or TV camera that did not seem to beckon to them on a personal level or a confrontation that would likely survive and be settled without their interference. And, when it is black and white, not as a determinant but as with involvement, it is a matter of how much higher they can fan the flame.
What Don Imus did was blatantly stupid. It was reprehensible. He should have known better. It was dull-witted and unthinkable. Senseless, indiscreet and tactless. But, should he be beheaded in the public square? He is a media figure with a huge audience but that does not give him the right to be irresponsible. Many likely laughed at his witless attempt at humor but they were in their cars or homes and will deny they did so. It was hare-brained, uncivil and mindless. But, ?off with his head!??
Jesse Jackson was asked about his reference to New York as ?Hymietown? and just went about avoiding a response. Sharpton is not an innocent lamb in this regard either. No one had marched or protested at the offices of the Rainbow Coalition. No one called for Sharpton to step down. Spike Lee produces and created the words Don Imus used ? in videos and movies like ?School Daze,? as well as elsewhere. No one protested, no media coverage. And, this is not a defense. I must keep repeating that or my e-mail will be filled with threats and erroneously conceived interpretations of what I am stating.
When C. Vivian Stringer, the Rutgers basketball coach, was interviewed and asked about the lyrics put forth by rappers and hip hop artists, she clearly implied excusing them due to their youth and not knowing better. You have to be kidding!!!
Al Sharpton is one of the people calling for Imus to resign.
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson want more representation by African Americans everywhere but notably avoid the fact that they dominate sports, like basketball and football. They are only now losing some mileage in baseball to Latin Americans, do not choose to play hockey and, despite Tiger Woods (clearly the best golfer in the world), think of golf as not a sport. The Williams sisters have already made their mark in tennis. And, the world of entertainment is happily bursting at the seams with African Americans from Hollywood to music.
No mention was made of the fact that the Rutgers team has 10 young ladies, eight of whom are African American ? I hesitate to ever say ?black? lest this commentary be labeled politically inappropriate. There is no outrage to have more white players. Why would there be? The other ladies are there because of their talent, not their color, and the same is true of their coach.
When Jackie Mason takes Jewish people to task it is funny. Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy (back in the day), Redd Foxx and Bill Cosby (back further) could say anything, and still can. Robin Williams, the comedic genius of our time, is a rare exception and could probably get away with whatever he wished if he chose to. He does not and that is commendable. You can laugh at yourself but crossing the color line to do so is chancing loss of one?s head.
Extracting a pound of flesh these days is not enough. And, again, repetitiously so, I am not attempting to be Perry Mason rushing to the legal parapets in defense of Don Imus. Hardly. But, the fact of the matter is that there is a double standard and interviewing the Spike Lees and Whoopi Goldbergs of the world, or the Reverend Dr. DeForest Soaries (pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J.) does not change that. One is definitely held up to different standards based upon color of skin and ethnicity. If a black talk show host said what Imus did, life would have gone on without any beheadings. That is allowable.
Check the language of rapper offerings and wonder why Sharpton and Jackson are not organizing marches in front of music studios. Imus being three times the age of a rapper, does not, as Coach Skinner indicated, excuse the latter. Imus may be on national radio but the audience of the musical "artists" dwarf his many times over.
One has to wonder, while deploring what Imus said, whether those castigating him in the press, and on morning TV talk shows, notably African American journalists, scholars, religious leaders, academics, et al, calling for his head, are going to do the same tomorrow with the record companies whose rappers speak about ?Ho?s,? ?bitches,? ?killing women and police,? ?abusing women? and more or is it excusable due to the black and white double standard? Do we have enough baskets to catch all the heads?
What happened to ?consider the source?? It is politically correct to show outrage, condemnation of Imus and total support of the Rutgers team and all its young ladies. Not exactly unjustified either but the bandwagon is listing badly. As for balancing the books, Imus is just one novel. Racially inflammatory has a permanent home in the head of Al Sharpton.
The folks sullied the most, the girls on the team, handled this situation with the aplomb and professionalism of those many years their senior. They did not get into the mud. Their response was competent and pragmatic. Contrary to some commentaries, their lives will not be impacted forever and they will remember what happened and how they responded. They won, like all the games save the last one. On that court and in this one, they conducted themselves admirably. What better response to what occurred than that?
Now it is time for all the Queens out there to start focusing on the places of origin of remarks like those Don Imus made. In other words, to look to their own houses before they start cutting off heads with reckless abandon. Hypocritical? Nope. Stop listening to Imus and the 350,000 or so that watched the simulcast of his program on MSNBC can no longer do so. The advertisers can pull back (they already have - General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, American Express, Procter & Gamble, Staples and Bigelow Tea), exert the most power of anyone at all in what does, or does not take place, and life will go on. But go to the cause, not just the result.
Will the double standard stop? You gotta be kidding!