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Don Imus Is Punished With Two Weeks of Radio Silence

Don Imus and Al Sharpton on the air yesterday, as Imus visited Sharpton to make amends for racial slurs last week on
Don Imus and Al Sharpton on the air yesterday, as Imus visited Sharpton to make amends for racial slurs last week on "Imus in the Morning." (By Richard Drew -- Associated Press)

If Imus did not intend to resign, "what do you think the price should be that you pay?" asked Sharpton.

"I haven't thought about that," Imus replied.

This led the Rev. Buster Soaries, who came on the show, to suggest "what we're having problems with is that Don Imus does not fully understand the depth of the impropriety."

Another guest, Bryan Monroe, head of the National Association of Black Journalists and editor of Ebony and Jet magazines, asked Imus what he would do if a 67-year-old man went in front of millions of people and made the same slur against his daughter. "Should an apology be enough?"

"Probably not. Probably some gesture of reconciliation, I think," Imus said.

Imus said he did not "have to go have a road-to-Damascus experience" and "round me up a bunch of black kids and act like I'm going to do something good or try to get me some black friends or something."

On the other hand, he has asked the Rutgers team and their families to meet with him to help him paper over his outrageous comments.

At one point Imus chastised the participants in Sharpton's show for not supporting him when he was trying to educate his audience about sickle cell anemia.

Monroe took issue with that, saying Ebony magazine "has been writing and covering sickle cell anemia for decades . . . back when you were still doing radio spots for used cars."

Imus was outraged.

"Don't come on this radio program and insult me, because I'm not insulting you," he said, with, we regret to report, no indication that he saw how wildly ironic it was for him to make that comment on this particular show on this particular day.

"I'm not going to sit here and let you insult me!" he snarled.

"You can keep talking all you want," he said as Monroe continued. "You are not going to insult me. Don't insult me. I have not insulted you. Don't talk to me about doing used-car commercials."

And then, he added:

"I will bet you I have slept in a house with more black children who were not related to me than you have!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! What is that supposed to mean?" Sharpton wondered, naturally.

"I don't have to put up with a man getting in my face like this," Imus said, "because I didn't call him any names! . . . I didn't come here to get slapped around."

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